My vows, hopes and resolutions for 2020:
• I vow to eat fewer hot dogs this year than in 2019. The hectoring from concerned, health-conscious, finger-wagging fellow columnist Rick Morrissey is more than my stomach can bear.
• I promise to visit our northern suburb of Milwaukee and watch a real NBA team, especially since on a late Friday afternoon I can get to Fiserv Forum as fast as I can to the United Center.
• I vow to keep pointing a finger of hilarity at the names of the ever-proliferating college football bowl games, wondering if the Cheez-It Bowl might give way to, perhaps, the 666 Cold Preparation* Bowl or the Nad’s Hair Removal for Men* Bowl or even the Broccoli Wad* Bowl.
• I vow to try to watch that wacko car-insurance sales guy lick Tina Fey’s face one more time without gagging and wondering why, if he’s supposed to be a dog, somebody doesn’t have him neutered.
• I vow to remind myself that this is 2020 and not Year 4 of the Cubs’ 108-year march to the World Series championship.
• I will wistfully remind myself that in my entire multidecade sportswriting career, former Bull Derrick Rose is the only pro player ever to address me as sir.
• I vow to smile and remember the night — maybe 12 years ago — when I sat, so innocently, in the “All You Can Eat’’ section of Dodger Stadium, chowing down a footlong hot dog (part of two or possibly more), listening to a fan yell at outfielder Andre Ethier — “Hey, pretty boy!’’ — and watching Brewers reliever Derrick Turnbow, in his ‘‘Wild Thing’’ glasses, chug a can of Red Bull like a college kid shotgunning a beer before sprinting out of the bullpen to the mound.
• I hope I remember to mute the sound before those NFL TV analyst guys, sitting or standing near each other — huge and grown and even white-haired or bald — start laughing riotously after one of them says something as sidesplitting as, “Who’ll pick up the check?’’
• I will try to stop thinking of John Paxson and Gar Forman as two of the luckiest, fully employed NBA executives in Chicago history.
• I hope to find a substitute food to replace the hot dogs I crave, knowing full well there’s nothing remotely like the fat-filled, sodium-laden, artificially colored, chemical-infused, bottom-of-the-slaughterhouse-floor, entrail-encased tubes of pink slime that fill my gut with such joy. But I will try.
• I resolve to continue wondering — not in a jealous way but rather in a kind, helpful way — what Khalil Mack plans to do with his $141 million.
• Let me see: Say the government takes its chunk (what, 37 percent or something like that?) as does his agent as do Mack’s assorted employees, if they exist. Then there are helpful deductions for expenses (knee braces, hot-tub toys, etc.), charitable giving, repairs (new joints down the road) and reading materials (Brutal Linebacker Magazine, Wealth, Fortune), which are in turn partially negated by extortionary Illinois state, city, township and garbage taxes, leaving him with, I’m going to say, roughly $70 million to play with.
So I just want Khalil to know I’m here. Not necessarily with palm extended, but with scribe’s fedora in hand, eyes cast downward, lower lip quivering.
• I resolve to continue to rage when an announcer constantly says “football game’’ when “game’’ is plenty, “third-down situation’’ when it’s third down, “pill’’ instead of ball, “in the paint’’ for “in the lane’’ (there are some lanes that are not painted, you morons!) and at any human who says ‘‘unpack,’’ “drill down,’’ “existential’’ or claims a running back is running “downhill.’’ (There is no downhill on a level field, idiots!)
• I resolve to control my anger and be nice to everyone.
• Right now I’m breathing in slowly — one, two, three, four — holding gently, now out through the mouth, same count, all muscles relaxed, feeling the burden of sports and Mitch Trubisky’s fate lifted from my chest like a millstone. Aah. I’m refreshed, reborn, cheerful.
• I hope a bowl game is named the Better Marriage Blanket* Bowl or the Skinnies Instant Arm Lifts* Bowl. Or — my dream — the Potty Patch* Bowl.
• I resolve not to remember always that the first words to the fight song ‘‘Bear Down, Chicago Bears’’ are the same words your rectal-exam doctor says as you bend over the table.
• Happy 2020, all!
(* real product names)