Main Street: Jan. 9, 2019

January 10, 2019

For the most part, we frame or phrase New Year’s resolutions or goals in the affirmative. For example, we plan on losing so many pounds, exercising so many hours per week, or saving a certain amount of money. But what if we were to say yes to saying no?

For instance, “Yes I will not eat fast food over two times a week.” One of the cleverest songs I have ever heard is: “Yes! We Have No Bananas”

I first heard it on an old Lawrence Welk Show. I was hooked and I must warn you that if you listen to it, you will get it into your head very much like at Disney World’s “It is a Small World After All.”

“No Bananas” was a novelty song by Frank Silver and Irving Cohn that was published July 19, 1923. It went on to become a No. 1 hit that year. Silver explained the genesis of the song to Time Magazine.

He told them, “I am an American, of Jewish ancestry, with a wife and a young son. About a year ago, my little orchestra was playing at a Long Island hotel. To and from the hotel I was wont to stop at a fruit stand owned by a Greek, who began every sentence with ‘Yess.’ The jingle of his idiom haunted me and my friend Cohn. Finally, I wrote this verse and Cohn fitted it with a tune.”

Here is a link to the original version: youtube.com/watch?v=PDd8shcLvHI

The song was used repeatedly by singer and comedian Jimmy Durante on his show in the 1950s and 1960s. The phrasing was picked up by the World War II generation. For example, my dad, who was a mechanic, would go into the NAPA auto supply store and say something like, ”You wouldn’t happen to have a front wheel bearing for a 1965 Chevrolet pickup would you?”

Or my Mom might say, “I don’t suppose you are going to go to that church meeting tonight?” Part of it, I think, was the cautious German heritage they grew up in. But there may be a larger message that we can use today. Affirming the negative is the other side of the resolution coin.

So what might be a few resolutions that we say, “No we are not going to do that anymore?”

While women have traditionally been associated with gossip, men are just as bad, if not worse. On a classic Andy Griffith show, the boys-Andy, Barney, Goober and Floyd were making fun of the blather of Aunt Bee and her friends. Aunt Bee set them up by starting a rumor about a traveling shoe salesman (who rarely sold many shoes).

Just as he was about to leave town, very discouraged, Aunt Bee started the rumor that he was really a Hollywood agent in disguise. Suddenly, he had a steady line of male customers who supposedly wanted to buy shoes, but they came in with an accordion, dancing shoes and much more hawking their talent or that of their kids.

Aunt Bee got them good. So maybe a good resolution for all of us is: Yes, we will not gossip, we will not gossip this year.

How about all the procrastination we engage in. We joke about it. Mark Twain jumped right in by saying: “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.”

There are little things like cleaning a closet or sweeping out the car we postpone, but also include major life situations like putting off that will or having that needed medical test. We all have our list I’m sure.

Karen Hill has good advice for us in this New Year, “A year from now you may wish you had started today.” So yes, we will not procrastinate we will not procrastinate this year.

The blog site Startup.com has several excellent suggestion. One of their best is “Stop letting life happen to you … View your life as a laboratory instead.”

In other words, don’t see yourself as being a victim or a passive recipient of others’ limitations on you. Rather see yourself as someone who can learn from experience and come out the other end much better. Summarizing No. 3: Yes, I won’t be to be a victim. Yes, I will not be a passive victim in 2019.

I’m bored! We’ve all been there ourselves as teenagers, hearing it from our kids, or even in our jobs and, or retirement. Startup.com has a second great suggestion. “Stop the boredom … Start living at the edge of your capabilities.”

As T.S said, “If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”

If you are bored with life, your job or relationships do something about it. But first say, “Yes, I refuse to be bored this year. I’m going on offense in 2019 to make myself better.”

Finally, let me quote some of fun and humorous lines of the 1923 masterpiece, “Yes, we have no bananas; We have-a no bananas today. We’ve string beans, and onions; Cabbageses, and scallions, and all sorts of fruit and say; We have an old fashioned to-mah-to; A Long Island po-tah-to; But yes, we have no bananas. We have no bananas today.”

If you have a chance, listen to the song. You can just Google it, or if you have Alexa, ask her to play the song for you. After one listen, you’ll be hooked into saying yes to stopping the no’s in your life.

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