Hebetude

Hebetude

When I was in high school, Mr. Chaney allowed us to chew gum in AP English class as long as we chewed “consciously” and not “unconsciously–like cows.”  We laughed as he made faces to demonstrate, to a class full of city kids, how cows chewed. 

I think about Mr. Chaney around the start of every year because he’s the reason I don’t disdain resolutions.  I’ve made my peace with them because I think they encourage people to live their lives a little more consciously.  I think they make people think about ways to improve characteristics they don’t like (like me trying to cut down on my cursing) and, if taken seriously, force those same people to think before undertaking any particular action (like me trying to cut down on my cursing).  I figure, being more aware of the circumstances surrounding you can’t be a bad thing.

Perhaps that’s why I liked running across the word “hebetude” in my reading recently.  Because I am still, at heart, a 7th grader with a great relationship to her dictionary, I looked up this word and found that it meant “dullness of mind or mental lethargy.”  Seems like resolutions are meant to ward off hebetude.    Let’s hope.

© Laura Genao 2007

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