New Year’s Resolution
A few blogs back I mentioned that I liked parody and satire. In my naivety, and as a young teacher, I just assumed everyone else appreciated these forms of humour. I was wrong.
It was the first day of school after the Christmas Break. A number of my high school students were wearing new clothes they received as gifts. I asked if any had adopted resolutions for the new year. We were having a rather light discussion before picking up the pace of the course curriculum.
“Well, let me tell you about a New Year’s resolution I made a few years back. That January 1st I was determined to start smoking. My goal was to become a pack-a-day man.
“Now I want you to know that I had been a non-smoker for most of my life. When I was married my wife knew that I was a non-smoker and she accepted it. My children had always known me to be a non-smoker. But I told them many years ago that I would, one day, become a smoker, and they would just have to be patient.
“On New Year’s Eve I gathered my family around and told them that I was ready to start. They told me that they were there for me and would encourage me along the way. I knew that it wasn’t practical to go from 0 to 25 cigarettes-a-day overnight, so i decided to start with one cigarette and increase by one a day. Too many people have tried going hot-turkey and have failed. I was determined to be successful.
“So, the next day I started. Initially it was easy, but after several days I started to struggle. I was finding it harder and harder to smoke. I hated the way my lungs felt and the way I smelled like an ashtray, but I was determined. Every time I lit up, my kids would say, ‘Good job, Daddy. Keep it up.’ If for no other reason, I wanted to do this for them, but I was faltering.
“Around that time I went to one of those parties where it seemed everyone was non-smoking. I was on my second or third cigarette but said to myself, ‘I can’t do this’. I caved in and crushed it out. It was then I started to live a lie.
“I didn’t want my family to know that I had failed, so I would secretly non-smoke behind their backs. I would often get up in the middle of the night, sit on the back steps and inhale fresh air. In the morning I would light up before kissing my children good-bye, but would crush the cigarette out when I got in my car. Before I arrived home I would light up another and hold it near my clothes. I felt terrible but did not want them to know I had returned to non-smoking.
“I thought I was doing well in hiding my non-smoking habit, but one day my wife looked at me and said, ‘Have you started non-smoking again?’ I don’t know how she knew but I couldn’t hide the fact anymore. I broke down and confessed that I had, indeed, gone back to non-smoking. I thought she would be angry, but she wasn’t. She gather the kids around and I made my confession. They hugged me and said, ‘Daddy, it’s OK. We love you. We know when the time is right you will quit non-smoking, and we will be there for you.’
“Anyway, that’s my story. But I DO resolve, one day, to quit my non-smoking ways.
“OK, let’s review what we were doing before the Christmas Break.”
I was able to carry it off without smiling or cracking up. I even made it look as if I was about to cry at one point. A number of students giggled during my address. I was pleased with my performance.
When class ended and as students were filing out, one of the last to leave approached me and sincerely said, “Mr. Caines, if you don’t smoke now, you really shouldn’t start.” She was being serious.
I replied, “Actually, I was just kidding.”
“Oh, OK then” and she left the room.
It made me wonder how many others thought I was being serious.
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