Stafford: Here’s a New Year’s resolution we all can agree on

Credit: Tina Fineberg

Credit: Tina Fineberg

Another New Year’s Day has passed, and I find I’ve not yet recovered from the hangovers of several previous years.

And somewhere in 2021, I began to feel the combined weight of those years slowing me down about the same time I realized a Godzilla-like monster I call fate had begun chasing us all down the street of a large city.

That, of course, made it inevitable that I would run smack dab into the guy that appears in all Godzilla movies: The one wearing the sandwich sign that says “The End is Near.”

And after doing so — this won’t surprise you — I found out it was Bill Murray.

And he told me the predictable. That, like you, I’m now trapped in a time-warp variant of the movie Groundhog Day.

Which brings me to a question.

Is it just me, or do you think the Delta variant would have been enough for one year?

Because before we could even get out the door in December, Omicron had to kick us in the fanny, spreading infections over a continent in a matter of days and the world in a couple of weeks.

Then there are all those other reasons not to like 2021.

No year in my memory has seemed more like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with a theme of Old Testament plagues: A million-acre fire in the American West, a drought that has reduced the reservoir feeding the Colorado River to the size of a pay fishing lake, catastrophic floods in the East and the recent tornado that nearly traveled the distance of a NASCAR race.

If we throw in the appearance of the 17-year cicadas, which were expected, and allow the collapse of Afghanistan’s government to represent the dual plagues of war and famine, we need only thing for garnish: the threat of global warming.

And that brings me to the final movie references I’ll make before suggesting a New Year’s resolution we all likely can agree on. The movies are Animal House and The Blues Brothers, both starring Bill Murray’s fellow Saturday Night Live alumnus, the late John Belushi.

Animal House fans who still possess memories will recall that, as the film ends, frat boy John “Bluto” Blutarsky (played by Belushi) speeds out of town in a convertible. As he does, the action freezes and we’re informed that we’re seeing the departure of the future Sen. and Mrs. John Blutarsky of Washington, D.C.

Belushi’s perhaps more memorable role, though it’s a toss-up, is Jake Blues in the Blues Brothers. And while it’s tough, as well, to pick a favorite scene from that movie, one of mine is just right for those worried that it’s just too late to avoid the consequences of climate change.

The scene is one in which Jake and Elwood (played by Dan Aykroyd) have left the music hall and are fleeing from the highway patrol in a dark tunnel when Jake’s jilted girlfriend, played by Princess Leia, opens up on them with an assault rifle.

With the two of them wallowing in the mud, she demands answers from fundamental question, asking Jake, in so many words, why he didn’t show up for their wedding.

While I’m well aware that combining the characters from two movies is nearly as dangerous as crossing the streams of the ghost blasters was in Ghostbusters, it offers a rare opportunity to reflect on humanity’s accountability for our response to global warming.

To make this happen, we need make only two small changes.

One: Replace Princess Leia with Greta Thunberg.

Two: Have Belushi report to wardrobe and exchange his Blues Brothers outfit for those of a U.S. Senator.

And when Greta asks Sen. Blutarsky why he jilted the world on global warming, Belushi’s repeats verbatim his lines from Blues Brothers:

“I ran out of gas! I got a flat tire! I didn’t have change for cab fare! I lost my tux at the cleaners! I locked my keys in the car! An old friend came in from out of town! Someone stole my car! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts. IT WASN’T MY FAULT! I SWEAR TO GOD!”

Which brings us to my New Year’s Resolution: That my 2022 will not be a repeat of 2021.


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