If I Don't, Then Nobody Else Will

Submitted into Contest #179 in response to: Write a story in the form of a list of New Year's resolutions.... view prompt


Friendship Drama Funny

Completely change life.

Completely change attitude to life.

Completely change outlook and way of thinking.

Ignore everyone who is negative don’t get drawn into any negative situations. Those people can all take a running jump this year. You have had enough. Be strong.

Listen to and learn from everyone. Especially listen to Harry and appreciate that while I don’t understand why he does what he does, that he has good intentions but just can’t express himself without being the most annoying person on the planet. But listen to him anyway and try to learn something, difficult as it might be.

Study more. Sleep more. Go to the gym. Relax more.

Take time to be good to myself because if I don’t then nobody else will.

Take long walks in the countryside.

Pick up litter.

Find woman from car park and put litter in her car.

Make food plan and stick to it.

Keep bottle tops and make a craft out of them when I have enough.

Get revenge on Sally. Don’t let it get to the stage where I forget what she has done and start being all nice to her again because she will only do the same thing again.

Stand up for myself.

Get even with the woman with the eyebrows at the shop. Maybe buy something without paying for it and return it and say that it wasn’t what I bought even though I didn’t pay for it and then watch her face when I ask her well how does it feel now eyebrow woman?

Look for the good in everyone.

Call customer service and block Sally.

Invite Sally to my birthday party and then cancel her on the same day. Make sure to invite Brenda from inbound. Find a way to guarantee that she will come and Sally will know she came but Sally didn’t.

Buy myself flowers and post them to myself because if I don’t then nobody else will.

Introduce Harry to family. Prepare everyone beforehand, especially mom. Explain to mom that Harry is affected or has memory loss; think of a good one. Make sure Harry doesn’t swear. Practice conversations with him beforehand where he doesn’t swear in the conversations. Reward him with beer.

Do something nice for mom because if I don’t nobody else will, especially not dad because he just sits on his behind all day watching TV.

Stop drinking coffee and start drinking rose hip tea.

Wait to see if Harry books somewhere to go out for 21st February or Valentine’s Day and if he doesn’t, book somewhere myself and go alone and take photos and shame him completely.

Get in touch with inner self.

Plan and execute astounding birthday party for myself because if I don’t then nobody else will. Order cake, organize music. Make birthday party list. Make invitations. Give invitation to Brenda and Will but make sure Will doesn’t come but he won’t come anyway because he won’t want to be there just as much as I don’t want him to be there.

Be honest with myself.

Make lunch with salt sandwiches and leave in fridge at work so that Mandy will eat it.

Meditate. Practice Temperance.

Learn Spanish but don’t tell anyone and then I will understand everything the Spanish girls are saying but they won’t know.

Don’t get new job because let’s face it I am not going to do it so why put it on the list. Just do another year of mindless, robotic labor without thanks or satisfaction and in the company of coworkers who are all backstabbing liars, for hardly any money because that’s my life so just get used to it and stop complaining or else do something which I am not going to do so shut up.

Update C.V.

Buy lots of flowers and plants.

Stop being so nice to everyone. Develop thick skin.

Look for the beauty in everyday things.

Take up photography. Take pictures of everything I see that is yellow. Then red. Then blue and so on.

Remember that I am not what other people perceive me to be. I am not defined by what other people think of me. I am a good person. I want to do good things. I try to live my life in the most honest way and I am a generous and loyal friend and partner.

Do not give what I do not get. Stop being so damn nice to everyone and being a doormat. Do not share with people who will not give me a single thing in return.

Smile at strangers.

Help people in need.

Be more difficult to read. Maybe take up poker. Ask Harry to teach me.

Do my own thing and stop following the crowd like a human sheep. Buy a hat and start being the kind of person who always wears a different hat but nobody thinks it’s weird because that’s just my ‘thing’. Get some kind of ‘thing’ even if it is not hats so people will say ‘what are you doing at the weekend?’ and I will say ‘oh I’m doing such and such a thing, you know’ and they’ll think of course you are because that’s your ‘thing’. And people will automatically think of whatever ‘thing’ that is when they think of me because that’s what I do.

Don’t turn down opportunity. If I get asked somewhere, go. If I meet new people, be proactive and ask them to join me on my ‘thing’. Be a magnet person who attracts people to them but in a positive way, not like Sally who has her coven of witches and only spreads nasty gossip and negativity.

Don’t wait for life to go speeding by. Jump on the passing train.

Find out about events and go to them. Go alone because Harry won’t go anyway and don’t wait for him to do anything because he won’t do anything except sit on his behind and play computer games. Emancipate myself from the living room. Even if it is only to walk into town in the evening, do it.

Speak my mind. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth. Don’t bite my tongue when people say bad things. Be the kind of person who is not afraid to say what they think even if it is not the so-called ‘right time’ because if I don’t then nobody else will.

Be more like Brenda. But not in the way that she talks over everyone and doesn’t respect what people say and that everyone has their own opinion and who’s to say who is right and who is wrong because I have my truth and someone else has their truth and neither of us knows the full background of the other and the nuances of what is not said because everyone has a different life history and experience and we can learn a lot just by listening instead of talking over people all the time, like Brenda.

Confront Sally. Tell her that I am not going to be walked over and a true friend is not someone who disrespects someone else by spreading gossip and telling them one thing and doing another thing, but instead is someone who is loyal and generous. Tell Sally that she can take a running jump off the end of the pier and I won’t be going in after her until she apologizes and tells everyone the truth which is that I am a good person who would never do what she said I did and why is nobody talking about Will anyway and only me?

Alternative plan: Start nasty rumor about Sally. Make sure it’s a good one. Somehow make it untraceable to me. Don’t tell anyone, especially Harry and Brenda. Wait for rumor to do the rounds. Then defend Sally in front of everyone so everyone for sure knows it wasn’t me and Sally thinks I am great and feels really bad and apologizes to me in front of everyone and they all know I would never do what Sally said because I am not like that.

Get promoted. Work really hard. Throw myself into work and be dedicated and learn the ‘system’ because if I am not going to get a new job then at least I can try to get more money in the job I am in and I could even become the boss of Sally and Mandy and Brenda and all those hateful minions and then when I get promoted I will be really nice to everyone so they will say ‘oh yeah you are actually a very nice person, we were so wrong about you, we are so sorry’ and I will say ‘that’s no problem, everyone makes mistakes. we never know the nuances of someone’s life history, don’t worry’, but secretly I will keep an eye on them and when the chance comes I will be ready. I will play a long game, like a world champion poker player because I will be difficult to read and they won’t know what I really think.

Be a force for positivity in the world.

Be the kind of person I would like to be friends with myself.

Be good.

January 03, 2023 15:34

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Kathleen Fine
15:16 Jan 13, 2023

Chad-great story and made my chuckle! I like how it started out serious and then you played with it with Brenda and Sally, etc. Nice work!


Chad Eastwood
20:10 Jan 15, 2023

Thanks a million. I am happy to hear that, Kathleen!


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John Jenkins
14:42 Jan 12, 2023

I chose this prompt too, because I thought it was the hardest. You did it totally differently from how I approached the prompt, and I like it. I especially like the part halfway through where the narrator/protagonist is just being honest about his situation. No fluff. Just the truth. It was especially difficult to create a story that was a list as well. Thank you for this.


Chad Eastwood
18:52 Jan 12, 2023

Thanks, John. Actually, I was just in the middle of reading your story when I saw your comment. Thanks very much, glad that you liked it.


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Wally Schmidt
04:03 Jan 08, 2023

The humor and irony here are delightful! I chose this prompt as well, but took it a lot less literally. Thanks for showing how it can be done well.


Chad Eastwood
04:46 Jan 08, 2023

Thanks, Wally! But I just read your story and it was excellent too!


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Viga Boland
16:40 Jan 07, 2023



Chad Eastwood
16:58 Jan 07, 2023



Viga Boland
17:10 Jan 07, 2023

Hope you win 🤞🤞


Chad Eastwood
03:23 Jan 08, 2023

Well, fingers crossed is right. Thank you!


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Laurel Hanson
12:39 Jan 06, 2023

Wow, you picked this prompt! I was totally stumped by it, regarding it as the most difficult challenge. This is fantastic! You develop a great character through the list alone, with all the contradictions and inconsistencies ironically sketching the impossibility of changing when we cling to our grievances. Bravo! A fun and thought provoking read.


Chad Eastwood
14:35 Jan 06, 2023

Thanks a million!


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