So here we are.
Well, kids, it’s official. I am not a genius. The MacArthur grants have been announced, and once again, I find myself empty-handed. It’s a little disappointing.
Now, I’m no fool. I know I’m not a genius, by sheer definition or even just by conventional standards. And I also know that sometimes I can fall deep into a freelancer’s rut where days go by without my having contributed anything worthwhile to society, laundry, or my bathroom tiles. And I am painfully aware that no one gets thousands of dollars in grant money because they know what’s inside that Godiva chocolate without looking at the little guide.
So maybe this is a reminder that I should try a little harder to be a better part of the world. And it is today that I make the following pledges:
I promise that I will not colorize any black-and-white films.
I promise that I will not robo-sign any mortgages.
I promise that I will not re-edit my legendary films by adding new sound effects, computer generated characters, dialogue, or anything else that I know will enrage my fans even as they simultaneously re-purchase each new edition.
I promise that I will not start any Ponzi schemes.
I promise that I will not tell you that I have fewer calories and fat than I actually have.
I promise that I will not let down my constituents by being forced to resign from office after having an illicit affair with an intern.
I promise that I will not counterfeit any money.
I promise that I will not create the perfect shade of lipstick only to discontinue it.
I promise that I will not create a wildly successful and efficient business model that becomes a game-changer in the industry and attracts millions of loyal fans, only to, at the peak of its popularity and stock price, alienate these customers and cause them to leave in droves by sharply and unapologetically raising prices, dividing the company into two parts, and creating a horrible new name for one of the parts that is shared by an inappropriate Tweeter.
I promise not to be a disappointing replacement for your beloved long-running soap opera.
I promise not to leave an Internet comment that is spelled with numbers and a startling lack of vowels.
I promise not to take George Clooney off the market.
I promise not to worry you with my dangerous and irresponsible club-hopping.
I promise not to house an alien from outer space without telling you about it.
I promise not to take away your right to choose.
I promise not to phone it in.
I promise not to change my name to the number on my jersey.
I promise not to directly deforest.
I promise not to create an app that wastes your life.
I promise not to single-handedly bring your economy to a grinding halt.
I promise not to unlock all the cages at the zoo and/or prison.
I promise not to be a face that launches a thousand ships.
I promise not to throw the World Series.
I promise not to kill the electric car.
I promise not to remake Citizen Kane.
I promise not to lie about my nut, wheat, egg, or other allergen content.
I promise not to accept graft.
I promise not to introduce New Coke.
I promise not to make my tattoo and subsequent tattoo removal into tabloid fodder.
I promise not to ring your doorbell and run away.
I promise not to commit war crimes or other atrocities.
I promise not to replace my frontman because of ridiculous ego-clashes.
But most of all: I promise not to become too big to fail.
Yes indeed. Welcome to me.