It’s gratifying to publish without gatekeepers, and, because of this freedom, there’s a goldmine of scrappy, unique, and creative posts on TNB.

I enjoy reading the comments sometimes as much or more than the posts.Commenting is a skill, one that I haven’t developed.

TNB thrives on the intelligent, lively, supportive, and witty personalities of its core contributors.

On my TNB year anniversary, I list 20 aspirations and thoughts about my writing (sort of like a New Year’s resolutions list), with the hope that you offer some of yours:

Turns out that the resolution I’ve made for the New Year is the #1 most common resolution made among Americans, the coveted 18-34 demographic, and comedy writers named Rob. That’s right; this year I resolve to never again let a man pin me to a table and violently twist my head around in circles so I end up looking like the girl from “The Exorcist.”

“But Rob,” you say, “You’ve made this resolution before. What are you going to do to actually keep it this year?” Simple: I’m not going to fly. That’s how this whole mess started anyway. See, a few weeks ago, my wife Julie and I spent way too long at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport. Now the airline will tell you that this was due to a problem with the plane’s ice shield thingamabob thingie. Of course, I know the real reason I wound up sleeping on the floor at Gate 31, which is that the Gods of Air Travel absolutely hate Rob Bloom and therefore take every opportunity to keep him at airports for ridiculously long periods of time, thus ensuring he’ll contract more germs than he would by French kissing a toilet seat at Grand Central Station.

Hence my sore throat or, as I liked to refer to it, “OOOOOOW!” This was easily the world’s worst sore throat. Ever. Imagine for a moment that you just gargled razor blades and grapefruit juice and then scraped the inside of your throat with sandpaper. Get the picture? Yeah, you’d be lucky to get off that easy.

So with a sore throat that hurt every time I was foolish enough to swallow, or do something really boneheaded like breathe, I decided to take action. I placed my throat in the “ignore it and it will go away” department—right beside our broken heater and the red Tupperware container in the fridge that’s been there so long that neither Julie or I can remember what’s in it—and went on my way.

Shockingly, ignoring it didn’t make my throat feel better. In fact, the pain, like a Jean Claude Van Damme movie, only got worse as time went on. So after a week, I buckled down and called my doctor…who couldn’t see me for four days. Desperate for help, I logged on to my insurance company’s website and found another provider in the area. They could see me that afternoon (WARNING SIGN 1).

The doctor’s office looked less like a medical suite and more like the set of a bad (as opposed to a good) porno film. Jazz muzak was playing, there were a half dozen of those little Zen sand boxes with the tiny rakes, and, sniff, sniff, was that incense burning? A female patient walked up to the receptionist and said, “see you next week.” Then two other patients did the same thing (WARNING SIGN 2).

After a few minutes, the nurse called my name and I followed her down a long hallway to the exam room. Along the way I saw three people—three very healthy-looking people—sitting side by side, with IVs hooked up to their arms. (WARNING SIGN 3). But that was nothing compared to what happened next.

I swear what you are about to read is true.

NURSE: What brings you here today?
ME: I think I might have strep.
NURSE: Take off your shoes.
ME: Do you want to look at my throat?
NURSE: We don’t have the tools for that. The doctor doesn’t believe in them. Now take off your shoes.

And, for some reason, I did. She asked me to lie down on the table and again, for some reason, I did. Then she began massaging my feet. And then my legs. Then my thighs. She must’ve noticed the look on my face (you know, the “whatinthehell are you doing?” look) and said, “you seem tense. Didn’t you get a cleanse last time?” (WARNING SIGN 4).

“Last time? I’ve never been here before.”
“How did you find us?”
“My insurance company’s website.”
“Do you know what type of doctor’s office this is?”
“Family practice, right?”
“I’ll be right back.”

As I lay there on table, my shoes off, I tried to make sense of not only what had just happened but also wondering what was going to happen next. I didn’t have too much time to think. The door flung open and in walked the doctor. Standing well over 6 feet and weighing at least five Mary-Kate Olsens, he looked down at me.

“You’ve got a low grade fever. 99 or 100.”
“You can tell that just be looking at me?”
“I’m a doctor. Stay still.”

Then Giant Doctor sprung into action. He flipped me over, jabbed his elbow into my back, and pressed down with all his weight. My spine popped like it was bubble wrap. Then he flipped me over and snapped my neck, all the while telling me that my clogged auras had caused my sore throat and this cleansing would heal me by releasing my auras (WARNING SIGNS 4-85).

A long 30 seconds later, the aura cleansing was over; as was my self-respect. “You’ll be feeling better tomorrow,” he said as he left the room. I didn’t. But I did feel better a few days after that when I went to a different doctor and got a prescription for an antibiotic.

And that’s why I’ve made the resolution to avoid doctors who pound my body the way Rocky Balboa pounds a dead cow. I know it’s a lofty one but I’m optimistic I can keep it. Just as long as I stay away from this doctor. And airports.