New school year resolutions gone amuck


I’ve come to the decision that some people like to limit themselves to making resolutions only at the beginning of a new year. Me, I like to make resolutions anytime. I’ve made New Year’s resolutions, Easter resolutions, Thanksgiving resolutions and birthday resolutions. But my most consistent resolutions were made at the beginning of the school year. I have had a lifetime of new school year resolutions.

It began in elementary school with ideas such as keeping my desk clean, my crayons whole and my pencils sharp, but as soon as I was handed my first returned homework paper, I shoved it in the corner of my desk and within a few days my desk became an eternal abyss of recyclable materials. I did have a filing system: The papers that were shoved in the far corner of my desk were dated later than the ones in the front.

Then there was pencil chewing. I think that one of my great, great, great grandparents was a beaver. Early in my educational career, I developed the fine art of pencil chewing. So I made the resolution to no longer chew on my pencils but I never really “made it to the point.” Erasers yes, but point no.

As I moved up in grades, so did my resolutions. My desk was a constant problem and the fear of having a desk check by my teacher was not as frightening as my mother having a closet check.

Mom would take everything out of my closet and throw it on the floor. My teacher was kinder. There was a chart on neatness. Behind almost every name was a row of large gold stars except for Eric (the bully of the class), Tommy (the boy who ate the white paste and said it tasted like mashed potatoes) and me. We had a few small red stars in our rows and those were considered sympathy stars.

Junior high brought new challenges and resolutions. My pencil chewing diet had changed with the required ballpoint pen rule. Every teacher required that all work was to be completed using ink. As junior high students, it was necessary to have the latest of everything which included Pee Chee folders and Bic ballpoint pens.

As I changed my diet of pencils to ballpoint pens, no one mentioned that when you chew the cap of a ballpoint pen, you remove an important part of the pen. The part that guards against the ink actually leaving the pen. Personally, when I suddenly tasted something strange and my friend Barbara pointed out that my teeth were blue, I knew that I had taken pencil/pen chewing to a new level. I tried to convince everyone that dying your teeth blue was fashionable. Today, this might be true, but in the late 50s, no one colored anything a color that was not natural. My blue teeth were a sign of a new school year’s resolution gone amuck!

My new school year resolutions served me well into adulthood. With my positions as a college student, teacher and principal came a decision each year to begin with a clean dorm room, classroom or office desk, but I always ended the year with the eternal abyss of recyclable materials. I accepted it as my fate in life and acquired larger file cabinets.

I have had a lifetime of resolutions. I resolved to lose weight, only to discover Cold Stone birthday cake ice cream. Sometimes life is just not fair.

I resolved to save fifty percent of my paycheck, only to discover that a Chico’s store had opened two miles from my office.

I resolved to drive at the speed limit, only to be given a Saturn Sky sports car with a turbo engine.

I resolved never have a Facebook account because I have enough “friends”, only to discover that I now have accepted 876 “friends.”

I resolved to eat green vegetables only to discover that I don’t like okra, Brussel sprouts and asparagus.

This year, I am going to resolve not to resolve anything. It will make my life so much easier.


About Author

Pat Van Dyke