Crafty Claus | Mark’s Remarks - Republic-Times | News

Crafty Claus | Mark’s Remarks

By on December 26, 2018 at 10:10 am

Listen, I battle myself at this time of the year. Unless I constantly have conversations with myself and constantly talk to myself about what this season is for, I often sink into a crabby persona that rivals Scrooge himself.

I am a school teacher, as I’ve told you. I love my kids and with each passing year, they are more enjoyable and I understand them better. I wish I had started my career that way.

However, you probably have been around kids enough to know it takes very little to excite them and often, when excited, they act in ways that grate on the nerves of all adults. We can’t help it. We try to smile through gritted teeth and control ourselves, but it is tough.

Furthermore, there are people in the school environment who are not in charge of a classroom full of students. Not that their jobs aren’t important; it’s just that they are unable to grasp the fact that too much jollification and too much silliness makes it difficult for kids to settle down. In this day and age where everyone has attention issues, we need all the help we can get in school.

I’m all for fun and games in school, as long as kiddos understand the parameters.  Although there are many of us who feel this way, there are also many who look at us and shake their heads as if to say “Lighten up.”

On top of everything else, it seems December and holiday time is simply packed with activity: holiday events, kids Christmas programs, adult Christmas programs, meetings, meals, parties, caroling, programs, gag gifts, real gifts, food prep, house cleaning and Christmas cards.

Someone is always adding something new, meant to be positive, but more work and more time is taken up. The end results often make one feel joyous, but even the most joyous will admit to being absolutely worn out.

We spend way too much money this time of the year, and we also find ourselves forced to being with people we wouldn’t normally be with; people we have little in common with and people we see once or twice a year. 

It’s a pity it is like this, but it’s a reality.  Lucky and blessed are the folks who enjoy and get along with their families at this time of the year.

Now, you may think I’ve lost my mind. No, I’m merely clearing it. You see, these are all thoughts I have from time to time during the holidays. Yet, most of these feelings are fleeting and they go away quickly.  The pressure and stress cause these feelings to ooze out of me; but once they are out, I can recover and calm down. I don’t allow myself to stay in a negative frame of mind and remind myself constantly, as I said, what this season is all about.  

If you are like me, you find it challenging.

The other day I had one of these moments. We had about three different things to do and three different places to be. A dear friend stopped by to drop something off and I stood in my driveway talking for too long.  It wasn’t the dear friend’s fault at all. I should have been able to stand there, converse and enjoy the company. I should have been able to graciously exit and say I needed to get going. All I could do was stand there and think of all the things I needed to accomplish, and it made me angry.  Why can’t I have time to shoot the breeze with a friend?  Not fair.

So, I shot off in the car, angrily avoided a traffic jam by heading the other way, and charged on to Main Street, headed for my first errand, furiously trying to talk myself out of my mood. 

Just then, Santa Claus himself drove by on a motorcycle with an elf on back. They were grinning ear to ear. No one else was driving on the road and I wondered if I’d just had a close encounter that only I would see.

I laughed so hard I cried.  It was a moment of ridiculous nonsense that I needed very much.

My mood instantly changed.

Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.