Sunday, January 7, 1996
A sinner's advice for everyone else

BY LAURA PULFER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

What did you do with your first week of the new year? I used it to whine about the weight I gained over the holidays and to break all my New Year's resolutions.

This is despite testing several potential resolutions in December before I told anybody. That's why I never officially resolved to quit taking cheap shots or begin aerobics. If I want to get my heart rate up, I'll use caffeine, thankyouverymuch.

Gazing carefully at my navel, which, by the way, is not as convenient as it once was, leads me to conclude that although I am above average - excellent really - at making resolutions, I am just not very good at keeping them. Sort of like some politicians. (See what I mean about the cheap-shot thing?)

Anyway, now I can just continue to eat Doritos and avoid a real fitness program unimpeded by the expectation that I will do anything else. But because I am so skilled at making promises, it seems a shame to waste this talent. Therefore, I have some modest suggestions.

New Year's resolutions for everybody else

Don't tear anything down until you have something to take its place. Besides the obvious cautionary tale of Fountain Square West, this could apply to sales tax opponent Tim Mara and Tom ''It's a Travesty'' Luken. Just what is the plan Messrs. Luken and Mara would offer to revive our sagging city in lieu of property tax relief and new stadiums?

This also is a good one for those of us in the business of sticking our noses into everybody else's. It wouldn't hurt us to try a little harder to find the people with solutions. And to examine everything Roxanne Qualls says with the same attitude we bring to a news conference hosted by Charles Winburn.

Get real. This one is for dreamers - people like me, for instance, who think Mike Brown and Marge Schott might cough up personal money for their stadiums - and for women who are planning to buy Retin A and men who sculpt a few strands of hair into a bonnet.

My fellow sisters, we have earned these laugh lines, smiling politely through years of things that we don't really think are funny, such as the Cincinnati Business Committee's policy toward us. And, men, there's nothing women find more offensive (with the possible exception of Speedo bathing suits) than the dreaded comb over. And if Rep. Steve Chabot thinks that I am directing this remark to him, then he is just very much mistaken.

Revive anonymity. Procter & Gamble and Fifth Third Bank gave generously to the new Aronoff Center, but did our thank-you note have to be 3 feet high? I'm afraid someday we'll wake up to the Hudy Delight/William Howard Taft Birthplace and Microbrewery. What happened to a tasteful plaque?

The latest plan by county commissioners includes revenue for ''stadium naming rights.'' Wouldn't it be nice if some hugely rich person, say, one with silver hair and gold bananas, would hand over the money and insist that the stadium be named for Danny Ransohoff or Jonas Salk?

Or, if it's such a good idea to put your name on something important, how about a public school? Some of our most prosperous corporations might hand over a million or two for the privilege of naming a school after someone they admire. How about Withrow/Monica Nolan High School or the Washburn/Theodore M. Berry School?

A highway beautification plan. Make it a felony to drive and pick your nose at the same time. While we're at it, we could stop supporting our automobile habit, which right now eats up about 20 percent of our income. This is money we could be using to buy things from retailers so they will get off our backs and stop hanging Christmas lights in August.

The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments says we squander $190 million here every year on auto congestion. Just think, if you could figure out a way to get public transportation going, we could name something after you. Or after someone you particularly admire - perhaps the person who inspired you to fulfill a New Year's resolution.

How about the Laura Pulfer Memorial Automobile-Free Innercity Travel Zone and Eating Arena?

Laura Pulfer's column appears on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Call 768-8393 or fax at 768-8340. She can be heard Monday mornings on WVXU radio (91.7 MHz) and as a contributor on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.