1587, Saint Augustine, Spanish Florida: 21-year-old Martín de Argüelles resolves to incorporate more Timicuan native slang into his lexicon, at once antagonizing the colonial aristocracy and the appropriated native tribe. “Whatever, taca-biro gonna taca,” Martín smirked.
1619, Plymouth, England: Elizabeth Hopkins resolves to boost her own happiness through more gift giving. Determined to stick to it this year, she packs several extra blankets for the upcoming transatlantic voyage. “Don’t worry, these are just the ones the kids have been sneezing into,” Elizabeth says to quell her husband’s objections.
1774, Boston: Whig leader Samuel Adams, while writing to defend the previous month’s destruction of the tea, resolves not to be afraid of over- extending the “tea party” metaphor. “I mean, it’s not as if this image of costumed Americans protesting a specific unfair taxation policy could ever be hijacked by the plutocracy and twisted into romantic nationalistic hyperbole for political and financial gain,” he laughed.
1789, New York: Newly inaugurated President George Washington resolves publicly to take his oral hygiene more seriously and floss his mouth full of metal fasteners, hippopotamus ivory, and extracted slave teeth every day. Recoiling from the President’s hellish maw, journalists decide to go with “wooden dentures” instead.
1804, Louisiana Territory: Meriwether Lewis resolves to be more careful about those whom he hires for long campaigns, as a trail-worn and delirious private John Shields declares himself the party’s naturalist. “That one’s a prairie… dog! That one’s a prairie… goat!” There would be 16 more animals added to the prairie animal family before a crazed William Clark buried Shields in a hill of prairie ants and left him for dead.
1814, Baltimore: Francis Scott Key resolves to set his new poem to a difficult, yet easy-to-embellish John Stafford Smith melody, allowing generations of future Americans to express their fear of change through smug disapproval of each new vocal arrangement. “Instead of hating other cultures, which would be totally racist, you can just hate their interpretation of this song, which is totally patriotic,” Key said of the piece.
1845, Washington, DC: New President James K. Polk resolves to quit drinking after coming to on the Oval Office sofa wearing nothing but the signed annexation of Texas.
1863, Washington, DC: President Abraham Lincoln resolves to spend more time leading the nation and less time spitting sick rhymes, whittling down the “Emancipation Proclamation of the Slaving Nation to Stop the Hating and Start Peaceful Cohabitation” to a more succinct title.
1918, New York: Republican Senator William Calder, resolving to teach his indolent children a harsh lesson in punctuality, threatens sleepy Elsie and William, Jr. by shaking an early draft of the Standard Time Act over their beds. “Do you know what Daylight Savings Time is? Huh? Well you and the whole goddamn country will find out if you two don’t get up this instant. I’m not joking; I will straight up delete an hour of sleep from the universe if you little shits are not ready for school in ten minutes.”
1920, Baltimore: After an unsuccessful suit meant to block women’s suffrage in Maryland, Judge Oscar Leser resolves to keep up the fight against the 19th amendment. “What if some powerful faction of female voters gets together and, like, menstruates everywhere? I mean, how can our political process possibly handle that much blood?” Donning a pirate hat and climbing into his treehouse, his honor went on to lament the possibility of a cooties outbreak.
1949, Langley, VA: Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, director of the newly-formed Central Intelligence Agency, resolves to [REDACTED] and make sure his [REDACTED] the sort of political malfeasance that [REDACTED] and would [REDACTED] several cornish game hens and an unusually bitter English tea.
1973, Cincinnati, OH: In the wake of the landmark abortion case, Bob Fincher resolves to rename his harvest-your- own-caviar-in-a-wade-able-sturgeon- tank business, “Wade 4 Roe.”
1981, Washington, DC: Department of Education Assistant Secretary Clarence Thomas resolves to improve his seduction game, after finding inspiration in the improvisational genius of TV’s McGuyver. Breathless, he spoke into the intercom: “I’m going to have you send in that foxy new attorney-adviser, but first I need a can of Coke and a pair of tweezers.”
2005, Washington, DC: President George W. Bush resolves to spend less time working and more time listening to his record collection, as yet another boring meeting with FEMA officials has him absentmindedly humming “When the Levee Breaks” for some reason.
2014, Washington, DC: Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul make a joint resolution to halt all US-bound flights and cruises from West Africa, afraid of what they might release into the American public. When asked to comment on claims that such a travel ban would actually hinder global efforts to treat the Ebola epidemic, Cruz and Paul glance at each other uneasily before replying in unison: “What’s Ebola?”