3 New New Year's Resolutions to Make This Year
Be SmarterIn addition to being nastier and sadder, we have also become a nation of dummies. Earlier this year, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released a finding of adults' math, literacy and computer skills from 21 different countries. The United States came in No. 13 in literacy, No. 19 in mathematical skills and 15 in technology problem solving. We're not even that good at using the digital equipment that we dedicate most of our brainpower to.
This is just one example of a trend in stupidity seen across this country. What is going on here? Maybe the fact that a 2012 Pew Research Center poll found that a fifth of Americans said they hadn't picked up one book that entire year. That is 18 percent of our country that admittedly doesn't read, which means that the actual number is probably higher because who wants to say that out loud? It probably doesn't help that 21 percent of the adult population can only read at a fifth-grade level.
Obviously, if you are reading this, you're doing better than the 21 percent, but that doesn't mean we aren't offenders in our own path to stupidity. I know that I am. I consider myself a fairly active reader and thinker, and I can't even tell you how many times I've opted to watch an episode of 30 Rock that I have already seen 30 times over picking up a book. I don't feel guilty about it, and neither should you, but making a conscious choice to be a little bit smarter this year is neither a difficult one nor something that's going to kill anyone.
How can you be smarter? It's the same as being happier and nicer; just give it a try. Don't know a word that you just read? Look it up. Can't spell "restaurant" (it's taken me years!) without spell check? Practice writing it over and over again. Play a trivia game on your PlayStation instead of Grand Theft Auto. Whatever you think will get your brain buzzing, do that.
I know these resolutions seem fairly obvious, and maybe you want to tell me to go shove them up my ass, but, hey, that would be so 2013 of you. At least tell me to shove them up my nice ass; that's a smarter, more pleasant thing to say.