A Gold Foil Star

As it usually does, my mind began to drift on a particularly damp and dark morning.  Xena, my faithful hound was strutting down the shadowy path, oblivious to the winter weather.  I was shuddering in the icy wind, wondering if I should have adopted a hamster rather than 90 muscular pounds of canine tugging on the other end of the leash!

The beauty of walking briskly at 5:30 in the morning is that the blood begins to flow readily.  The mask of the prior night’s sleep begins to fade away, replaced by a keen sense of awareness.  Everything seems to come into sharp focus and the orchestra of twinkling stars above resonates through your senses.  Liberated by the fresh air and invigorated by the promise of a new day, the mind wanders of its own accord.

This particular numbing dawn, I found myself journeying back to my childhood.  A few minutes earlier I had picked up a crumpled scrap of paper.  As is my usual habit, I nab litter and deposit it into trash cans along the path.  Ironically, the trash has usually been carelessly dropped within feet of a nearby dumpster. 

In this particular instance, I had taken the time to unfold the single sheet of weathered notebook paper.  Our favorite path is about a hundred yards away from a middle school.  Invariably, the majority of litter I find turns out to be school assignments.  I always hope that I have not discovered somebody’s homework, lost while walking to school.  Some times the dog will unearth one of these scraps of paper.  I always chuckle, imagining that there would be some truth to saying “the dog ate my homework!”  Today’s find was a graded assignment, meant to be taken back home.

My eyes immediately focused on the top right corner of the spiral paper.  A single gold foil star had been affixed to the homework.  I glanced along the right side of the sheet to confirm that there were no red check marks beside each math problem.  It appeared that some budding Einstein had managed to ace his arithmetic assignment.  I was impressed; percentages and ratios were not an easy concept to grasp!

We exploded out the door and onto the playground!  It was Friday afternoon and nothing was going to keep me or my classmates from starting our weekend as soon as possible!  I skipped over to the never-ending line of yellow school buses along the curb.  This was going to be one truly enjoyable ride home.  The door whooshed open and I scrambled up the steps and into my favorite seat.  The front right bench was a coveted spot in the elementary school transport.  You got almost the same view as the driver and every child boarding the vehicle was subject to your scrutiny.

I sat back and pulled my Engl;ish homework out of my backpack.  Unfolding the paper, I squinted to keep the glimmer of the gold foil star from hurting my eyes.  There was not a drop of red ink to be found anywhere on my book report!  Instead, there was a single metallic pentagram stuck to the upper right hand corner.  I turned the paper around slowly, assuring that every one of my friends would see it as they boarded the bus.  This was a point of adolescent honor!

Closing my eyes, I imagined the scene when I got home.  My mother would coo and dote over me, proud to have given birth to a literary genius.  When dad got home, she would proudly announce to him that I was the recipient of the coveted gold foil star.  I would receive a knowing glance from him; confirmation that my scholarly pursuits met with his high expectations.  Maybe we would go out to get ice cream for dessert; the creamy cold reward for my achievement!  All of this from a simple sticker!

Imagine if we went through our adult lives in anticipation of the gold foil star.  Rather than affix it to a piece of paper, perhaps we could have it placed on our shirts.  Each of us would be armed with a sheet of gold foil stars, ready to be shared with the world.  If one of our family members or coworkers exceeded our expectations, we would reward them with a sticker.  If we saw a stranger displaying unusual kindness, we would share a star with them.  Each of us could then walk around, proudly displaying our stars for the world to see.

Instead of focusing on the negativity in our world; perhaps the media might highlight those with the most gold stars on their chest.  Magazine covers and billboards would be pasted with pictures of multi-sticker winners.  For that matter, we could have presidential races and Nobel prizes determined by these simple adhesive-backed gold foil star shapes!

Could something this simple alter the way in which people behave?  Would the specter of walking around with no stars on your chest change the way you act towards others?  In many ways, ours is an extremely childish world; so perhaps childlike rewards might work after all.  As for me, I have an entire roll of small gold foil stars just ready to share with the world!

About Jerry V. Dollar, Author, Humorist, Observer of the Human Condition

When not trekking around the globe, Jerry Dollar can be found in Colorado Springs, CO where he lives with his wife Robbi. Besides an affinity for writing and travel; he is also an avid bodybuilder, a very prolific reader, and an enthusiastic observer of the human condition. Jerry has published two books which are available on: Lulu, Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and IBook. "Announcing a Flight Delay" is a hilarious recap of the author's experiences as a million mile flyer. "A Dollar's Worth" is a collection of observations on the human condition, which originally appeared as blog posts. Dr. Dollar has served in various senior executive management capacities over the past 25 years. He has previously worked within the healthcare, insurance, software, and several other high technology industries. Jerry is recognized for his expertise in creating the foundations for emerging organizations to succeed in complex sales environments. He is also well known for his leadership in guiding technology companies through rapid growth phases. Jerry speaks five languages and has conducted business in over 70 countries on six continents. He holds particular expertise in the Latin American and Western European geographic areas. Dr. Dollar holds a BA in International Affairs, a BA in Spanish, an MBA in Marketing, and a PhD in Organizational Development. He has authored numerous professional articles, various training courses, and has conducted seminars and conferences around the world.
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7 Responses to A Gold Foil Star

  1. LediaR says:

    How beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  2. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  3. Shawn Doyle says:

    This is GREAT stuff! – Shawn Doyle

  4. Jerry,

    I have many people who ask me to do things for them especially promote them through my networks. I am very picky on who I tell others about based on my intuition and how they present the request. To be honest I didn’t expect what I found! It resonated with me and I shared this with my Facebook friends. What’s interesting is I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. At this time I am working with a person who should have got a gold star many years ago. This is very close to my heart as she is my mother an inspirational and amazing person. I am happy to share your blog with my connections and I hope you take a little of your time to read about Anna Jarmics I am sure her story will have a profound impact. http://www.jarmics.com

  5. I’m facilitating a class this morning and because of reading this, am going to give everyone a sticker just for showing up! What a great start to the week : ) Thanks Shawn!

  6. donmcalister says:

    I retired last December after more than 39 years in the aerospace industry. As I neared retirement last year I decided that I’d try blogging as a an avenue for creating, learning, and sharing. So far, although I only have one month and 10 blogs under belt, but I’m finding it as fulfilling as I’d hoped. About the only thing I wonder and worry about is whether I might run out of things that I think are worth saying. In an attempt to learn how to get better, I’ve also spent a lot of time looking for, and reading the blogs of others like you, who look at the simple flow of life around them, apply their personal contexts and create compelling, readable stories that teach, inspire and amuse. Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

    Don McAlister

    • Don,

      It is amazing when I look at the furnaces that forge writers. You are a veteran of the aerospace industry and I am a veteran of global healthcare administration. Yet here we both are, sharing our thoughts and insights through the vehicle of blogging. I am genuinely pleased to see that my insights and observations have touched a chord with you. It is in the simplest events and situations that we often find the deepest meaning. Continue to write my friend; you will teach yourslef more than you teach others in the end!

      All the very best!


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