After nearly three decades of doomed-to-failure resolutions, I’ve come to believe that the meaning of New Year’s is office supplies.

I unearthed a diary of mine from my early 20s. To my horror, I discovered that many of the nagging shortcomings I wanted to discharge from my being at 23 I still possess at 47. And it isn’t watching Dick Clark in Times Square kicking off yet another first of January that brings me happiness. Nor is trying to position myself dead square next to a leggy spokesmodel at a black tie bash suspiciously around 11:59 p.m.

At least, not so much anymore.

No. I find the meaning to New Year’s is going to the toy store for adults, the nearest office supply mega-outlet, and buying a crisp new batch of goodies.

I love office supplies. I want to marry them.

I find meaning and sane boundaries in office supplies. A fresh calendar for my desk at home. Clean notebooks that verily squeak with possibility. Non-glare sheet protectors to file my columns. Pens. Pens. A new box of Papermate — 12 to the packet — black felt tip pens. Sure. I know they’ll be gone in a month.

“Stole ’em and sold ’em,” a long-ago sweetheart once quipped, when I queried her about their exact whereabouts.

Bu, fresh out of the box, black felt tipped pens make such clean, neat lines. New ink on new paper, giddily anxious to discover some unused word, some phrase never before turned.

My favorite office supply — next to the electric pencil sharpener, of course — is the new set of sheets for my oversized leather-bound Scared O’ Bears Ranch day planner. I take time to carefully inscribe everyone’s birthday for the next 365 days, followed by a pattern I’ve been keeping for years. For pretty much the entire month of January, I painstakingly keep track of all my expenditures and appointments. I dutifully log business mileage and I’m probably just a straitjacket away from including video footage documenting that my January business lunches were, in fact, deed and spirit, business lunches and ergo, deductible.

What can I say?

I’m anal.

In the fresh office supply lurks the possibility of 2017: The Perfect Business Year. There are columns just waiting to be filled with the blank ink of checks and profits. On the blank day planner page, nowhere does it say you’ll waste valuable novel-writing time watching Eric Estrada chase the college frat nerds in the speeding hearse at 2 in the morning. The pristine calendar doesn’t say you’ll catch a flu bug and lose a week in woeful delirium. For most, come January First, everyone you know is alive. No funerals penciled in yet. Grieving is such an interruption of the business week. Or month. Or year.

Someone’s going to get married, too. Someone’s going to get their heart broken and call you right in the middle of something and while it’s more important to be there as a friend, some part of you imperceptibly cranes a metaphorical neck toward The Things To Do List.

It’s not to say that I’ll keep up this Spartan work ethic. Right around mid-February, I usually start the Big Slide. Appointments start getting written down on gum wrappers and an $800 business expense gets lost in a shoe. I’ve gone a month without opening my Bible of Self-Scheduling. This character flaw haunts me.

Maybe I was never meant to be an Office Person. Maybe I should have been a hermit or sheepherder.

It’s nearly January First. All things are possible. Three hundred and sixty-five clean day planner pages and all is right with the world.


(SCV author John Boston also writes The Time Ranger & SCV History for your SCV Beacon. He’s has earned more than 100 major awards for writing, including being named, several times, America’s best humor, and, best serious columnist. Don’t forget to check out his national humor, entertainment & swashbuckling commentary website, America’s Humorist — http://www.johnbostonchronicles.com/) — © 2017 by John Boston. All rights reserved.

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