The Evolution of My Resolutions

By Ernie Witham   |   January 9, 2020

I made my first New Year’s resolution when I was five years old. I promised myself that if I passed kindergarten I would try much harder in first grade. I knew I was flunking nap because I was worried once I dozed off that Tommy kid with the devious freckles would crayon my cheeks red again and give me a mustache. I was also failing milk time since I got caught putting chocolate syrup in mine – and in the cute redhead girl’s milk too.

“Everyone passes kindergarten,” the teacher assured me. “Now please stop eating all our paste.”

A few years later I swore I would practice my clarinet every day in the new year if they would just let me sit by the cute blonde girl during grade school band practice.

“Sorry,” the band instructor told me. “But the squeaking noises you make mean you have to sit near the drums.”

“I’m actually sitting behind the drums.”

“Right. Now class… one and two and three…”

At age 11, I swore in the new year that I would eat, sleep, and live baseball if I could just make a Little League team and play centerfield so I could impress the cute brunette girl who kept the stats for the league.

“Congratulations,” the coach of the Laconia Rotary Club team told me that spring. “It was either you or the short kid with the runny nose and bifocals, so we chose you.”

“Wow! Should I head out to centerfield now?”

“Actually, we are going to put you on first base. You’re tall enough to make a good target for the infielders to aim at. Try to pay attention. We have limited icepacks.”

In high school I got my first real job and swore in the new year that I would be the best bag boy the IGA grocery store had ever seen if only I could work at Sharon’s register, the cutest cashier in the world.

“Sorry. Sharon has sensitive feet and the cans of peas you keep dropping on them isn’t helping. We’re going to have you in the stockroom breaking down cardboard boxes.”

“For how long?”

“Until you retire.”

The ‘70s are somewhat of a blur as far as resolutions go. I know I made the annual plea that I not get arrested in the new year so I didn’t have to spend time with blondes, redheads and brunettes named Spike, Dregs, and Cruncher. I’m sure I resolved every year to give up smoking and other stuff to achieve this. And because January is in the winter in New Hampshire, I always resolved to do anything if I could just be warmer.

Then, somehow, I ended up in Santa Barbara, which in my wildest dreams I couldn’t even imagine happening. I got a job. “Do I have to work in the stockroom?”

I know I made the annual plea that I not get arrested in the new year so I didn’t have to spend time with blondes, redheads and brunettes named Spike, Dregs, and Cruncher.

“No, you can work out here in production with the rest of us.”

“Wow!”

This time I kept my resolution to quit smoking things that were bad for me. And followed through on my resolution to go back to school.

“Hello. Brooks Institute. How may I help you?”

“I want to be a rich photographer with a bevy of female models and ride around in Ferraris.”

“Right. Please hold.”

But after lighting and photographing more mannequin heads than I knew existed in the world, I resolved to take another tact.

“Santa Barbara City College, Journalism Department. How may I help you?”

“I want to be a famous writer and buy a Montecito estate with 200 bedrooms. And a hot tub.”

Click.

That brings us to 2020. I’m happily married to a gal way cuter than the one in my grade school band. I have a huge, fun-loving family. I get to write this column and be part of the local writing community. I travel a lot and take copious amounts of photos. Somehow, I’m still healthy. And I never did go to jail for anything. 

So I’ve been trying to come up with a New Year’s resolution for 2020. Maybe I’ll take up the clarinet again. 

“Hello. Santa Barbara Symphony. How can I help you?”

“Do you happen to have an extra seat behind percussion?”

 

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