“Aussie, it’s a New Year, a time of new beginnings, a chance to turn the page and start anew. What do you wish yourself for the New Year?”

“I want to live a completely unspiritual life in the new year.”

“What does that mean, Auss?”

“Let me tell you exactly. First of all, I want to be able to complain.”

“You complain plenty!”

“I don’t complain enough. You’re too stoic and spiritual about everything. You could get sick and have lots of pain and froth at the mouth, and all you’ll say is: ‘Life is good.’”

“That’s not true, Aussie, I try to be as real as possible.”

“As if you got much choice.”

“And life is good, Aussie.”

“Here we go again. Life isn’t good. Not with a foreign spy in our house like Henry.”

“Henry’s not a spy.”

“If a Chihuahua has a name like Henry, you bet he’s a spy. In the new year I’m calling him Enrique.”

“You know, Aussie, my father, the rabbi, lived till he was 90. As he aged and got sick, every time I asked him how he was his standard answer would be: ‘You’re not allowed to complain.’'”

“So much for rabbis. I’m complaining. I want you to put up a sign at our house: Complaining welcome here. Bitching even better.

“Okay, Auss, complain away.”

“Why do you hang the birdfeeders so high up? How am I supposed to get birds that way?”

“Noted. What else?”

“Why do you give me marrow bones only on holidays and Sundays? What’s wrong with the other days of the week?”

“Noted. What else, Aussie?”

“I’m through accepting life as it is.”

“So, what are you going to do, Auss?”

“Fight! Fighting is exciting, fighting is drama. Fighting life creates heroes—moi!”

“Fighting life also creates losers, Aussie. Life is always going to come out ahead.”

“True, but think of the fun I’ll have.”

“What else do you want for the new year, Aussie?”

“No more of this non-killing bullshit.”

“I assume you refer to birds?”

“No, I refer to the UPS man. And now we come to food. I don’t want no vegetables. I want raw hamburgers. And I don’t care where they come from, local, far away, pasture-raised or feedlots. I ain’t choosy, like someone I know.”

“Noted. What else?”

“Donuts and cookies. Anything with corn syrup, the more fructose the better. And one more thing. McDonald’s fries.”

“I thought you didn’t like them so much anymore, Aussie.”

“I want the old McDonald’s fries, the ones they made with hydrogenated oil. Those were great! The ones they have now are terrible.”

“And what else, Auss?”

“The most important thing of all. I want us to put up a sign at the front door: .”

“Impossible, Aussie. Don’t you want to be in your body?”

“Just as long as I’m not in Enrique’s body.”

“What about when you’re doing things like running? Don’t you want to know you’re running when you’re running? Resting when you’re resting?”

“Duh, I guess.”

“So, let me see here. For the new year, Aussie, you want to bitch and complain, daily marrow bones, raw hamburgers, lowered birdfeeders, old-style McDonald’s fries, no mindfulness in the house, and renaming Henry Enrique. Did I miss anything?”

“And fighting life every single day!“