The Cavalier Daily
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The Mysterious Deaths of the 2024 New Year’s Resolutions

U.Va. Private Eye Sneha Uppal works to uncover the truth behind the deaths of New Year’s resolutions

<p>I pulled the trench coat over my shoulders, angled the fedora at a slight crook on my head and stepped out into the world.&nbsp;</p>

I pulled the trench coat over my shoulders, angled the fedora at a slight crook on my head and stepped out into the world. 

Editor’s Note: This article is a humor column.

At half past three on Jan. 20, I sat at my desk studying previous prints of The Cavalier Daily with glasses perched on my nose. My trench coat and fedora hung inanimately on their hook. 

Business as an official U.Va. private eye had been slow during J-term. Six cases of “a dog ate my homework,” a minor misunderstanding between two students regarding a broken car window and a fire alarm going off in a dorm because students have proven incapable of using microwaves appropriately. Oh, and there was a missing Veo, but I did not take that case — a missing Veo is a blessing. 

J-term cases were simple. They could usually be solved with a snappy one-liner or the adjustment of my fedora angle. I had a lot of free time and walked stormy shorelines with my coat billowing behind me, a toothpick between my teeth, my fedora pinned to my head and the weight of my lonesomeness on my shoulders. I was the dark silhouette looking over U.Va. in the distance. 

But I quickly grew bored. I needed a new case. Something more perplexing and intense than petty college student quarrels and stupidity. And, as soon as J-term ended a sobbing student provided me with just that.

“It’s dead,” she cried.

A death? I leaned forward. This was intriguing. “What’s dead?” I pressed. A grade? A dream? True love? 

“My best friend’s New Year's resolution. I just …” she took a moment to breathe. “I need to know what happened to it. It was only twenty days old. So young, so very young.”

“Okay," I encouraged, pushing the tissue box towards her. I reached for my bluebook. I was in my element again — the black and white filter on the world had once again flicked on. “Start at the beginning.”

“Her resolution,” she drew in a shaky breath, “Was to quit drinking Celsius at three in the morning everyday. It was going really well. She made a plan — she gave me her Celcius cans to store in my dorm. If she wanted one, she would ask me during usual business hours, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. But, I went to Coupes last night and decided to crash at her apartment. It was 4 a.m. when I arrived. And I couldn’t believe my eyes,” She said as she blew her nose into the tissue, grabbed another one and dabbed at her running mascara. 

“Detective, she was chugging her second can of Celsius that morning! I just don’t understand how that poor resolution died after all that commitment.”

She cried louder. Through tears she gave me her friend’s name, year, apartment number and major.

“Thank you,” I said. She gestured to her wallet. I held up a hand. “No need. Studco covers the fees for undergraduate students. I’ll have this case cracked faster than your friend can crack open another can.” She swiped her card, and I opened the door to usher her out of my office in the Newcomb basement. 

I pulled the trench coat over my shoulders, angled the fedora at a slight crook on my head and stepped out into the world. 

On my way to the apartment, I was approached by another student. He had a bulky watch on his wrist, a holier-than-thou blazer and gelled blond curls. He took up a lot of space when he walked. A trust-fund finance major, obviously. 

“You’re the U.Va. private eye?” He asked. 

“Who else would I be, chum?”

“I have a case to report. Must be solved pronto. I’m on a timeline.” He glanced at his watch. “It’s the mysterious death of my brother’s New Year’s resolution. Top priority. Must remain confidential. Really, I’m bending some rules even telling you.” 

I blinked, “I promise on the honor code— ”

“My brother’s resolution was a vegan diet,” he interrupted, “But last weekend, I went to Raising Cane’s, and I found him hunched in a corner booth hiding his chicken and fries from the world. The rest is classified. Chop, chop. Find out how the resolution died.”

I bit my lip in ire, “I’m busy with my current case, but soon I’ll crack yours quicker than your brother cracks open his wallet for more chicken.”

He clicked his tongue. “You’re behind schedule? Truly an embarrassing and messy operation that you are running here, Detective.  I said ‘top priority.’ Don’t you know what that means?” he shook his head. “Luckily, I’m in a charitable mood today. I’m going to offer to be your manager. I have a strong business sense and can also wear a fedora and do all the stuff you do —  possibly better. I can ask questions and interrogate, I’m on The Cavalier Daily news desk, too. You could do well with a manager like me”

Something in me snapped. I stopped short. “Absolutely not—”

“Detective,” Two girls approached me. “You are just who we were looking for. We need to report mysterious deaths—”

I sighed. “Were they New Year's resolutions?”

“Yes. The first was my boyfriend’s. His was to stop mansplaining U.S. and China relations to me. He was trying really hard and even asked my opinion sometimes. But this morning, he opened the news and guess what he started up again?”

“And the other was my cousin,” added the second girl. “She was trying to keep her desk tidy. But, I went to her dorm, and it was a sight …” She quivered in terror. “Plates with remains of curry, paper exams that were handed back from last semester and empty milk quarts all lingered on her desk like ghosts! The corpse of the resolution stank to high heaven!”

As I listened to these hopeless cases, a cluster of students approached me. “Detective,” they all called in poor unison. “We need to report a handful of mysterious deaths.”

I am ashamed of what occurred next. I lost all my stoic detective poise. I had a fit. A fit! With foot-stomping and yelling. Slamming my precious fedora onto the ground. My film noir filter flickered away from the world.

The jig was up. The battle was lost. The lost New Year’s Resolutions of 2024 took my pride, prowess and profession with them. This article is my formal resignation.


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