On January 1, 1943, Woody Guthrie jotted in his journal a list of 33 “New Years Rulin’s.” Nowadays, we’d call them “New Year’s Resolutions”. Family, song, taking a political stand, personal hygiene — they’re the values or aspirations that top his list.
1. Work more and better
Do what you do, but better.
2. Work by a schedule
Random shit is random. Make a plan, do it.
3. Wash teeth if any
If you have teef, do it.
This is actually gender-neutral.
Shaving Cream, be nice and clean, Shave every day and you’ll always look keen.
5. Take bath – Good advice regardless of political affiliation.
6. Eat good — fruit — vegetables — milk – we are still in an age in which this is an item of debate, but I am of the mind that a balanced diet is good for mind, spirit, and soul.
7. Drink very scant if any
This is an obvious reference to teh booz, and very relevant and appropriate advice.
8. Write a song a day
Or whatever your muse pushes.
9. Wear clean clothes — look good
Honestly, change out your underwear daily.
10. Shine shoes
OK, we are in the post-shoeshine era, safely ignore.
11. Change socks
But we are not in the post-clean-socks era. Gezus, change those stanky thangs.
12. Change bed cloths often
Once a week maximum. If your favorite cat won’t sleep with you, it’s time.
13. Read lots good books
I will allow e-books and blogs and podcasts.
14. Listen to radio a lot – ok, podcasts belong here instead..
15. Learn people better – people is a weird concept to me but I agree.
16. Keep rancho clean – um don’t sleep in your own shit? Good advice.
17. Dont get lonesome – this is the tough one. Find friends, I guess.
18. Stay glad – easily done when you are working for your brother man.
19. Keep hoping machine running – tough assignment.
It was hard in 1943 to keep that machine running, though, so I will assume that after we slew the Nazis that it is somewhat easier to keep that machine running.
20. Dream good – this is somewhat of a hard assignment, but I assume Woodie meant that we should dream of a better world and then work towards it. Because otherwise what’s the point.
21. Bank all extra money – might have been possible for Woody Fucking Guthrie but for the rest of use, “extra money” is a somewhat sad amount. Of course, this was written before certain laws where enacted that made it impossible for Mere Mortals to sock some cash away.
22. Save dough – see 21.
23. Have company but don’t waste time – when you’re an entertainer it’s hard to separate social obligations from useful connections.
24. Send Mary and kids money – um yeah take care of your obligations. Honestly this should be #1. Shame, Woody.
25. Play and sing good – Professional goals.
26. Dance better – Social and personal goals.
27. Help win war — beat fascism – This was 1943, but I gotta say, beating the Fascists is taking longer than he might have anticipated.
28. Love mama
29. Love papa
Honor your elders, but, more importantly, love them.
30. Love Pete – No relation to Bob.
31. Love everybody – Relation to everybody.
32. Make up your mind – It is important that a person is not just floating around, even if that appears to be the only choice available.
33. Wake up and fight – What happens around you is not “just politics”. It is your life, and the live of your descendants.