Something about beginning a new year saps my energy. I’m still tired from the holidays. The mailbox is filled with credit card bills from December. It’s time to start working on tax returns. And the unpredictable weather…

Let’s just say the beginning of the year isn’t a good time to ask how I’m doing if you really want to know the truth.

Unfortunately, my general malaise appears to be affecting my job performance, too: My first draft of this column apparently was lacking a little something, at least according to my wife. After showing it to her, she sent me an e-mail and said: “Well, it’s not your best effort.”

In marriage-ese, you know what that means: Your column is awful. Of course, that is my cleaned-up, family-magazine translation version of what she really meant.

The original column admittedly was a bit obtuse; it was about my experience with a new $3 toothbrush, and that element was (I thought) intricately woven into a thoughtful column that had some relevance to the new year. You know, new toothbrush, new resolutions for the new year…

But alas, my wife wasn’t impressed, and I always defer to her opinion, so now I’m back where I started: struggling to think of something that might both entertain and enlighten you.

It’s actually not all that hard to write a column, as long as you have something to say. But there are times in column-writing, as in life I suppose, where the endpoint is a bit fuzzy, if it’s even in sight at all, and that makes it hard to get things started.

This whole predicament brings to mind rechargeable batteries. When you buy the batteries or the appliance they are packed with, everything works great and holds a full charge.

But over days and weeks and months of use, as the batteries are charged over and over again, something happens to them. They don’t hold a charge like they used to, so the appliance starts operating erratically and constantly needs attention and to be recharged more frequently, until finally the batteries are basically useless and need to be replaced.

Some people simple drop the whole dead appliance in the appropriate recycling bin, head down to the appliance store and buy another appliance that includes a fresh set of batteries. Others keep the appliance but buy new batteries.

In any event, the batteries need to be recharged, usually for a minimum period of time, and then the whole cycle starts all over again.

I’m not big on throwing appliances away, so I guess it’s time for me to get a new set of batteries, charge them up for the next 30 days, and see what happens.

Right, dear?


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