Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Xmas brings to mind CHARLES DICKENS, who brings to mind A CHRISTMAS CAROL, which brings to mind a frail TINY TIM, son of BOB CRATCHIT, the abused and underpaid clerk of EBENEZER SCROOGE, the cold-hearted miser who despises Christmas.  Dickens has also brought to mind the most pleasant and plump, MR. PICKWICK, the ugly and repulsive, URIAH HEEP, the waif, OLIVER TWIST, and the meddlesome and self-important petty bureaucrat, MR. BUMBLE. 

In the spirits (pun intended) of Charles Dickens and of the coming New Year, I shall proceed to offer a toast to myself with some very personal, but now very public, resolutions for 2016. Keep in mind, dearest reader, less than ten percent of New Year’s resolutions are successfully kept by those who make those promises to themselves.

Also keep in mind that New Year's resolutions are really just taking a personal stock of one’s life.  Lose weight, eat right, exercise more, spend less … these are the stocks and self-mands to date, of everyone, it seems.  

Also it seems that the gluttonous guilt of Christmastime is likely both motivational and de-motivational at the same time in relation to prompting resolutions.

I think, most appropriate, prerequisite to this resolutionary endeavor, a preamble of my privileged and devil-may-care life to date.  Never one to be nebbish (nibbish though, pun intended), I shall sashay write away and flummox my readers accordingly.

  • SWIMMER: I’ve no more aquatic resolutions that I want to accomplish.   
I’ve always been natatorial; more specifically a sandy beach bum.  When I was a child (pun unintended) my dad, in the summer months, would take me and my preferred friends to Clearwater Lake north of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. At Clearwater Lake my friends and I swam in the reeds, caught bull frogs, and ate fat greasy hamburgers and paper trays of oily French fries.    

In adolescence, my buddies and I would drive to the golden perch-filled Lac Pelletier, just south of Swift Current. At Lac Pelletier we swam, drank ice-cold pilsner beers, and flirted with glistened girls in string bikinis, gorged on grilled hamburgers with raw onions and French fries drowned in vinegar and ketchup.    

In emerging adulthood, I resided at Regina Beach, a small resort town on Last Mountain Lake north-west of Regina, Saskatchewan.  At Last Mountain Lake I took my kids swimming off Fisherman’s Point, ice-skated on the frozen lake in the winter, fished all year long, and every summer we ate home-style sirloin burgers and coleslaw.

During my university years I was an English major and Physical Education minor.  The Bachelor degree is deceptive because the only Physical Education classes I took were swimming:  Swimming 110 (Introductory), 210 (Life-saving), 310 (Instructor’s), and 410 (Coaching).

One winter I studied Scuba at Cariboo College in Kamloops, British Columbia.  Every winter weekend involved an outdoor dive at Scotch Creek, Shuswap Lake.  That winter I completed my National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) certificate.

My cousin, Craig, immediately following my NAUI flipper kicks, enrolled in the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) course.

For years afterward, Craig and I dove in various prairie lakes (Saskatchewan and Manitoba) and even did a Pacific stint one Christmas.  Craig and I used to do the open-water checkouts for the novice divers at Prairie Divers, a Regina dive shop.  Prairie Divers would supply us with free air (for pay).  Cousin Craig and I were members of the very first Scuba Bronze class (Royal Life Saving Society).

After scuba training I taught snorkeling at the YMCA for a decade and decided that diving with just a mask and snorkel was healthier and less problematic (technically) than diving with scuba tanks.

  • RUNNER: I’ve no more running resolutions that I want to accomplish.
I became a runner right after reading The Complete Book of Running by Jim Fixx.  For a variety of reasons, that book became my bible.  I suppose this is kind of along the punch line, He used to be a Methodist, but now he is a runner.  (I laughed at this joke a long time ago.)  Well, I never was a Methodist, but I certainly was a runner. 

For about a decade I used to run 10 miles a day, six days a week.  In my forty’s I toned it down, running just three to five miles a day, 10 miles every Sunday. Running has been very good to me.  For seven years my job consisted of having young offenders in a running programme to improve their lives whilst incarcerated.  I even wrote my Master’s thesis, One Hundred Days at the House of Concord, academically re-living this experience. 

Now I run just three miles around Wascana Lake each morning in summertime and in wintertime I substitute my running with Jacob’s Ladder.  (Try it – You’ll hate it.)

  • SOCCER COACH/PLAYER:  I’ve no more soccer resolutions that I want to accomplish. 
When my boys were young I coached lots of soccer; some of the teams included the Classics (sponsored by Coca Cola), RTO Crunch and RTO X (sponsored by Rent-To-Own), the Scorpions (unsponsored), and AEK (sponsored by Uplands Pizza in Regina).   
I started out in the recreational leagues and finished in the premier leagues.  I was an educator, so achieving a level-four National Coaching Certificate was only an effort in time, not so much thought.  When my kids became adults and no longer interested in the sport, I did play a bit of men’s league soccer but … didn’t enjoy playing as much as coaching.  These days I’ve no interest in local soccer.

  • PUBLISHED AUTHOR:  I do promise to write more.
During my graduate days (salad years according to Dylan Thomas) I wrote a book on guidance counseling in a high school.  My prof said it was good enough for publication and so I sent it off to the University Press in Toronto.  It was published, A Wishbone Epistolary (1985), and I earned approximately a thousand dollars in royalties.  A few years ago I wrote, The Creek, published by America Star, and I’ve yet to make a dime.  Strangely, The Creek took years to write; A Wishbone Epistolary took just a weekend.  In my cupboard I’ve still two copies of A Wishbone Epistolary; of The Creek, I’ve nary a copy.

I still dream of being a free-lance writer, you know, a real writer who writes for a living.  I do make time to write entries for my blog (225 to date) but ... (excuses, excuses).  I do hope I succeed in this resolution.

  • UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR:  I hope to continue to be awarded contracts as a Sessional Lecturer.
After teaching for 22 years at the university, I’m seriously considering PhD studies this spring (in Hypnotherapy, of course).  And note to self, it’s about time! 

  • HYPNOTHERAPIST:  I hope to continue to attract clients. 
I’m quite optimistic about my Alternative History Hypnotherapy (AHH), with very few readers sharing my interest.  I know this by looking at my readership logs.   And I’m seriously considering taking my hypnotic skills to the street this coming summer when on buskation.

  • HOCKEY PLAYER:  I plan to play shinny at least one evening per week all winter long.  

Last winter I played until Frosty melted.  I’ve played in hockey leagues all my life, playing out my career with the Vanguard Eagles, Notekeu Hockey League (NHL), and the Swift Current Indians.  These past few winters I’ve been playing shinny on outdoor rinks without equipment, save for skates and a hockey stick.  I’ve decided that playing hockey on an outdoor rink is the purest way to go.  I love it and the rink is just a five minute walk from my apartment. 

  • BUSKER:  I hope to continue to attract consumers. 
Ah lummy busking … I love busking!  This summer I plan on busking and busking and busking, the lodestone of my recreational activities, with my guitar and harpoon, or with my pencil and sketch pad, or both, and this coming summer, too, with my street hypnotherapy schtick.

And that’s that, aptly ending my essay with winter shinny and summer busking, the two whiz-bang sea changes in my middle-age misadventures.
  • FactoidAbuzz, devil-may-care, flummox, lummy, and whiz-bang ... all of these words were coined by Charles Dickens, all of which were employed in this essay.

To everyone, and especially my son, Travers, and his girlfriend, Sila, who’ll be celebrating New Year’s at Champoluc in the Italian Alps: 


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