Jim Furlong: The New Scribbler

In school at the beginning of the year we got new exercise books. Now we have talked about that before. Renewal, a turning of the page, etc. This was a long time ago. We called the books scribblers.

They were actually called Caribou exercise books. They were made of dirt cheap paper that had the arithmetic “times tables” on the back. You couldn’t use a pen on them because the paper just made any ink blot. Now these weren’t ballpoint ink pens because, and you will gasp in amazement, ballpoint pens hadn’t been invented when I started school. 


A Symbol of Hope

My desk had an inkwell, although we really worked in lead pencil. The new scribbler though, despite all its deficiencies, was a symbol. It was a symbol of hope and the idea of a fresh start, a new beginning. 

By the end of the first month it would be messed up. By the end of another it would be rotten with soup and Pepsi stains. At the beginning of the school year though the scribbler was brand new and inviting. So it is now that we stare down the calendar year and the road ahead in hope. I’m an optimist by nature. I look with enthusiasm at the opportunity.

Dad would tell me I had to try and “forge ahead.” That sounds sensible to me. It wasn’t an instruction or dictum to conquer the world. It was really just advice. “Forge ahead.”

 I think I can do that. The world is still broken, but I can handle it. Here a vax, there a vax, everywhere a vax-vax. That’s not the end of the world.  A couple of jabs and the fact we were mostly an island can carry us a very long way. 


Cut back

I do hope we do well economically this year. Everybody and his brother can see we need to cut back and I don’t see that happening yet. You know, ferries running empty, schools with a handful of students.  

I’ll know more when we see our next budget, which will really be the government response to the Greene Report. I do hope as well we see an end to a situation where it’s easier to stay home and do nothing than go to work in the morning. In school we used to joke, “My father did nuttin’ and my grandfather did nuttin’ so I should be able to do nuttin.”

There’s our challenge and I think we might be up to it. We will open the pages to our new scribbler. It’s all clear and inviting. 

Write well. We might succeed this year. It might be that our time has come. Try and forge ahead.  

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