Steve’s New Shaver: A New Year’s Parable

A cartoon image of an old-looking, open book on an ice-blue background. The book is open to the middle; on the left side, a cartoon Steve is angrily shaking a fist at the right side of the book. On the right-hand page, a gray electric shaver is depicted with devil horns, a red cape, and a pitchfork.

Foreword

Bear with me; this is all going someplace, I promise. 

Once Upon A Time…

For years and years, I’ve used an electric shaver. Every half a dozen, I have to get a new shaver. It’s always a pain in the butt, because by that point, the shaver I am using has gone out of production. 

Most recently, the battery on my shaver held a decreasing amount of charge. Additionally, the battery indicator stopped working correctly. Every attempt to shave became a game of roulette – would I manage to remove my whiskers before the shaver stopped? 

Then One Day…

I put up with this for longer than I should have. Then one morning my shaver refused to work, and I ended up with half a shaved face. That was the last straw. It was time to get a new shaver. 

The prices gave me serious sticker shock. To get the equivalent of my current shaver, I’d have to spend twice as much as I had last time around. I’m a New England skinflint, raised by several generations of New England skinflints. I am spending-averse. So I tried to find the least expensive replacement I could. 

After a few days of research, I ordered something that looked kinda-sorta the same as what I had, but at half the price of what I’d been eyeing. My inner Scrooge rejoiced at my wisdom and thrift! 

But Then The Unforeseen Happened: 

The first time I tried the new shaver, I could instantly tell I’d made a mistake. It struggled to clear off a day’s worth of stubble. Back to the store it went, and I returned to using my hobbled old shaver. 

This may have been the worst-possible scenario for my shaving habits. I’d tried something new, and it hadn’t worked. I felt resigned to living with a barely-functional device because my attempt at change had failed. 

Just As All Hope Seemed Lost… 

Of course, the old shaver failed again. Fueled by annoyance, I did some math. Some quick math revealed that spending the extra money to get a better quality of shaver would work out to $0.05 per day, as opposed to $0.04 per day. So I bit the bullet and bought a new shaver. 

I brought it with me on my recent trip to visit family over the holidays. And I found myself marveling: The new shaver not only held a charge, but it worked much better than my old shaver. 

It was silly, really: I had gotten so used to working around my busted old electric shaver’s issues that I was amazed when my new shaver worked like it was supposed to. 

The Moral of the Story: 

It’s easy to get so used to something that’s broken that we accept it as “the way things are”. We fear the costs of change. We’d rather keep contorting ourselves and complaining about it than jettison what’s broken and start fresh. 

But if we’re willing to accept the cost of change, it could open up a whole new experience, one where we’re able to function fully, rather than trying to operate within artificial constraints. 

And They Lived…

As we head into the New Year, I hope to review my situations and relationships. I want to look for those situations that are not working, and remind myself that while there is a cost to starting fresh, there is also an opportunity to end up happier and better-off. 

I know I will not always be successful. There are some situations that have become so ingrained that I’ll miss how twisted up they have me. And there are some times when I’ll try to make a change that will not work out, leaving me feeling frustrated for the attempt. 

But I hope that I will find some instances that lead to a brighter, healthier outcome. After all, we all deserve a happily ever after.

mm

Author: Steve Tetreault

After 24 years as a classroom English Language Arts teacher, Steve became a school librarian in January 2022. He has earned an M.Ed. (2006) and an Ed.D. (2014) in Educational Administration and Supervision, and completed an M.I. degree in Library and Information Science (2019). He is certified as a teacher, school library media specialist, supervisor, and administrator. He is an old dog constantly learning new tricks!



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