By Anne Sullivan
Lying on the living room rug with a spiral notebook in front of her, Sylvia clutched pen in paw. As far as I could tell from my comfortable chair, she hadn’t written one single word. A blank page stretched endlessly before her.
“What’s the matter?” I asked. “Inspiration won’t come?”
“I’m trying to do what you said,” was the gruff answer.
“Well, that’s a first. What’s the problem?”
“I’m serious.” She turned to look at me and, indeed, she wore her serious face. “You said I had to write down my New Year’s Resolutions and I can’t think of any. I’m quite perfect the way I am.”
“Oh, I see,” I said, returning to my newspaper.
Several minutes passed before Sylvia put down her pen and turned to me and asked, “What about your New Year’s Resolutions?”
“I haven’t done any. I never do. I gave that up years ago.”
Sylvia digested this as well as the chawed-upon end of a pig’s ear before pronouncing, “I have an idea. Why don’t I make resolutions for you and you do the same for me?”
“Okay, I’ll play,” I said. “But who makes resolutions for Gordo?”
“We both do. Let’s limit the number of resolutions to three each and we have ten minutes to write them.” Sylvia tore two pages from her notebook and brought them to me.
“One more thing,” I suggested. “We must have rebuttal time.”
“Okay,” she agreed, “as long as it’s limited to one minute.”
I wrote as fast as I could, looking up only once to see that Sylvia had already filled one page and was starting on the next.
A glance at my watch showed me that ten minutes had passed. “Time’s up.” I called.
“What have you got?” Sylvia asked.
I read from my paper, “One: I, Sylvia, resolve to stop arguing with my boss about everything.
“Two: I, Sylvia, resolve to always keep in my mind the fact that my boss knows what she is doing. Three: I, Sylvia, resolve to take any pills prescribed by the Vet without having to be wrestled down by my caring boss because—”
Sylvia did not let me finish before she interrupted with, “In the first place you do not have a dog who argues with you about everything. Your dog is patient and kind and…”
I checked my watch while she droned on.
“And in the second place. I cannot be sure that you always know what you’re doing at all. And in the third place—”
“Time,” I called. “Your rebuttal time is over.”
“It can’t be over yet. Your watch must be wrong.”
“It’s over. I have spoken.”
Sylvia glowered at me. “My turn to read your resolutions.”
“One: I, the boss, resolve not to be so bossy. Two: I resolve to feed Gordo and the good Sylvia on time every morning and evening. Three: I resolve never to yell at Gordo and the good Sylvia and I must always remember that they are sensitive intelligent individuals. At least Sylvia is. I’m not so sure about Gordo.”
“Now listen,” I said, “I am the boss here and it’s about time you real—”
“Time,” Sylvia called. “Your rebuttal time is over.”
“It is not!” I shouted.
“Yes, it is. I’m hungry. It’s time for breakfast. The first breakfast of the New Year. Happy New Year, everybody!”