Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair
Where I sit.
There isn’t any
I’m not at the bottom,
I’m not at the top;
So this is the stair
New Year’s Day
Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.
Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time.
However, go in, community. New Year’s is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion.
— Mark Twain
Letter to Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, Jan. 1863
quoted in Early Tales & Sketches, Vol. 1: 1851-1864 (affiliate link)
If you’d like to enjoy a mathematical New Year’s Resolution, may I recommend Evelyn Lamb’s Math Reading Challenge? I haven’t decided if I’m going to follow along, but it does look like fun.
Meanwhile, I do resolve to challenge myself with more math puzzles this year. Would you like to join me?
Here’s a great way to start: with the 2020 Mathematics Game!