Still plenty of learning left to do

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

For the first time in nearly a decade, I’m getting credit for something. Granted, it’s college credit, but everybody’s got to start somewhere.

The first day of school is something magical. It’s a time of the pain of letting go for parents, as many of my friends have kids just starting to attend classes. It’s also a time of fear and anticipation for the kids, who are excited to begin while they hope against all hope the other kids won’t be mean to them.

I graduated college more than nine years ago, and I really had no plans to do more. It’s not that I don’t want to learn. I figure you’re either learning or you’re forgetting, and my lessons are varied:

Math: If I have $26 left in the bank account, all of my bills are paid for the month and it’s four days until pay day, how much money should I not spend each day on Voltron figures? Answer, all of it.

History: Based on the job that’s been done on “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” and “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” balanced out against “Iron Man” and “Spiderman 2,” how much confidence should I have when a Voltron movie is made? Answer: Start with 100 percent. Subtract 100 if the words “Michael Bay directing” are involved.

Nutrition: How many bowls of Fruity Cheerios are too many in one day? Well, some of life’s greatest questions I still have not answered, but I’m going to keep trying.

The learning continues: So why am I going back? This story begins two years ago, when I joined our newspaper’s team for what the Curry County Literacy Council calls its Word Worm competition. Our team had won the previous year, and I knew if we didn’t win, I would be the new guy blamed for the loss.

Now, two years later, I am proud to say we’ve got a three-peat going, and I’m ready to blame the new guy should we lose this next year. But the reason I bring this up is the winning team members each get a certificate good for one credit hour at either Clovis Community College or Eastern New Mexico University.

Having graduated from ENMU in 2000, I saw no desire to go back and finish up that political science degree I’m just 12 hours from completing. I decided on CCC, but I ended up getting so lazy last year I never used the certificate.

I had no plans to waste a victory this year. With certificate in hand, I ventured down to the community college and looked at what I could handle. I gave up my name, address, phone numbers and a reason I was attending the college — I checked, “Personal fulfillment,” but was tempted to cross it out and write, “World domination.” Perhaps I’ll take over the world in January, when it’s not so hot outside.

I settled on weight training. There’s not much in the way of homework, and all I really have to do is lift stuff. I’ll learn:

Math: How much can I lift before I start crying? Answer: I’ll be embarrassed to tell you.

Fashion: Are dress socks acceptable apparel at a gym? Answer: Only if I’m trying to attract the ladies.

Nutrition: If muscle burns more calories than fat, how many extra bowls of Fruity Cheerios can I have before the muscles can’t burn it off? Answer: We can only find out by trying, right?

Well, this is the first week of class. The bag is packed, and I’m excited. For at least two hours each week, this office will have to let go of me.

And I can only hope the other kids aren’t mean to me.