It's late January, a good time to take stock of how well you're holding up on your New Year's resolutions. Essayist Peter Smith -- like a lot of Minnesotans -- is struggling.
Smith: Ever so softly, carbohydrates are calling. It's been three weeks since you broke up with them on New Year's Eve. You started going to the gym again the next day. Now they want to get back together.
"You've worked hard," they're saying, "You've been good. You deserve a nice little treat. Everyone does..."
And your devious little subconscious mind is inclined to agree: "Of course you deserve a treat," it says. "Why sure. What could it hurt?
"Let's forget the vinegarette salad dressing today. Let's go with the creamy ranch... And maybe some of those bleu cheese crumbles... In a bread bowl... With extra croutons... and a bread stick... with butter..."
When your devious little subconscious mind talks you try not to listen. But after three weeks of fresh fruit and vegetables, the grocery store produce department has lost its allure. The ice cream aisle is whispering sweet nothings as you push your carts past.
Temptation is everywhere. When you stop to fill your car, you can hear the gas station doughnuts call you all the way from the pump.
"Come on, Big Boy," they say. "We're two for a dollar twenty-nine in here. We got glazed. We got old fashioned. Jelly filled. Fritters..."
Your exercise resolve is wavering too. You promised to turn over a new leaf and hit the gym every morning. Now you turn over and hit the snooze button instead.
"Don't worry," your devious little subconscious mind tells you. "We'll get to the gym tomorrow."
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. And so in this petty pace all the way back down to the "fat clothes" end of the rack in the closet, where February is waiting, a five pound box of Valentine's candy under its arm.
And just when your skinny clothes were starting to feel good.
Fortitude, Minnesota. Fortitude, vigilance and a Tupperware bowl full of carrot sticks. It's three weeks down, three to go till Valentines Day. And if you can make it to Valentine's Day you can make it to Saint Patrick's Day.
And then we'll all deserve a nice little treat.