Humor - The Complete and Utter Twit's Guide to Back-To-School

This space left blank intentionally (then Zorro came along...)

In Other Words, Don't Trust A Thing I Say.

Ah! Take a deep breath! Smell that? YES! It's the smell of diesel school buses warming up to drag our children, kicking and screaming, off to yet another year of forced labor--I mean meaningful education.

Not a parent? Not a problem. You too can benefit from the wonderful silence of a neighborhood empty of other people's loving children/evil spawn (depending on your point of view).

True, I know that most children would garner high praise from their parents. But that's the problem; the parents HAVE to say nice things about their kids. I look at things from a much more neutral angle (45 degrees). I have no kids, but have helped raise the children of my siblings.

I know that children can be the best thing to happen to a person, or the worst. But ALL parents can agree that back-to-school can be the sweetest part of the summer.

I recall being a kid and going to J. C. Penny's secret, downstairs store-room in our hometown and looking for all sorts of deals on school clothing; nondescript tenni-runners, slightly irregular jeans, and the ugliest short-sleeved, button-up shirts with collars you have ever seen.

We LOVED it!

I recently saw a picture of myself in fourth grade and thank heaven for making it through that school year without bullies beating me to death with my own fifty-pound glasses. I was wearing my paisley shirt with the red squares on it which made it look like it was made from a large piece of graph paper that had been scribbled on violently.

I wore the large glasses because my mother, (who, by the way, had never worn glasses up to that point in her life, and whom I love dearly) said it would be better because I would be able to see more in my peripheral vision than if I had glasses that actually fit my face. I still have a pair of those glasses. They are big on me now. I use them as "geek" glasses when I do murder mystery shows.

I know that dear ol' mom was only trying to look out for me, but no one's perfect.

So, "What a bout back-to-school?" you may ask.

Buying School Supplies:

That was probably my ultimate favorite back-to-school activity! I am a creative person and I was barely able to keep from running around the supply isles like a chihuahua on six triple lattes and a shot of pure adrenalin. Drawing paper! Writing paper! Pencils! Pens! Crayons and markers! Oh, my goodness! I could have exploded every time we'd go to get school supplies!

We always came away with the same few items: a couple packs of wide ruled paper, a pack of pencils, and half-a-dozen or so yellow "Peechee" folders with the athletes in the middle of athletic activities on the front and back.

The paper I horded and saved as if it were gold. The pencils I sharpened (often times with a knife since we didn't have a pencil sharpener at home most of the time and I couldn't wait for school to start to use them) and then I would use a knife (the same one that may have sharpened the pencil) to scrape away a small area of paint from one side of the pencil, near the eraser, and would write my name on it (with a pen, of course--I didn't want anyone to mistake those precious, graphite filled treasures for theirs or to steal it if they had the compulsion), and the Peechees I would creatively deface by turning the tennis player's racket into a machine gun or drawing skeletons inside all the athletes, or by some other inventive way to make my stuff cool and individualized (just like everyone else in class was doing).

MINE! ALL MINE! The pictures on the Peechees and the teeth marks I added to the pencils later would prove ownership in a court of law if necessary!

Of course, not all school supplies needed to be purchased at a store where the prices were fairly reasonable. Some could be purchased for five times their actual value at school itself.

I recall a machine in the lobby of my primary school that sold pencils with things printed on them such as basketballs, footballs, and baseballs (all team sports for which I was seldom picked until I was the only one left to choose). That was the ultimate cool thing to have then (for sad, lonely kids like me anyway). If you had one of those pencils (usually imprinted with other people's favorite team's name) you were somebody! At least that was the word around Island View Elementary.

I would get enough change (I think it was 15¢) and then approach the machine like a lofty sage that would deliver the best advice in the world for the right price (15¢). I kept hoping against hope that the Oakland Raiders pencil would come out. Not because I had any close affinity with the team, but because I was told it was a cool pencil to have (and because I liked the silver color on it).

I didn't usually have the money to get the "special" pencils. We were a poor family. Not because my parents didn't work, but because they had four kids in a few short years and, as you know, it costs as much per year to raise a single child as it does to fund both recent Iraq wars.

I didn't know the value of money until sometime in my 20's. They don't really teach that in school and my parents were unaware of that fact. So what they taught me was rudimentary, at best. Either that or I just missed the point when they tried to explain money. Yeah, I think that's more to the point.

But anyway, back to "Back to School".

When you go to buy clothing for your child, you must make sure that you don't do what we used to do. We would go to the afore mentioned J. C. Penny's or to the Sears Bargain Basement.

Sears was an especially interesting trip. We drove from our hometown of Anacortes and would travel almost two hours to search through the Wrangler jeans and Converse knock-off tennis shoes. Gas was cheap at the time so my parent's were willing to make the trade: travel time for cheaper, crooked seemed pants and shoes made from All Man-Made Materials.

I remember a time in grade school when we actually had enough money to splurge a little on a pair of cowboy boots. I really loved those boots. I thought they were sooooooo cool. They blew tenni-runners out of the water. No one would think I was uncool while wearing those. (Not until I wore them with my massive glasses and non-cowboy, second hand t-shirts with printed slogans on them that were so worn out that they could no longer be recognized as anything meant to translate an idea of any kind, and my fuzzy-collared, dirty brown canvas jacket which was five sizes too small for me.

But now-and-days, you don't have to worry about that! You only have to worry about incurring massive amounts of debt to buy all the things which today's children are required by Federal Law to take to school.

You MUST buy clothing that is specially made for kids and designed by low paid Chinese workers to look chic and sexy for discerning six-year-olds. Yes, it sounds wrong, but if Disney and Nickelodeon say that children should dress sexy and kiss and date at an ungodly young age and do stupid things until whatever situation they face is humorously resolved, then who are we to argue, huh? (Oh yeah, we are people that actually care about our kids' mental, emotional, and physical safety!) Remember parents: Watch what your children watch and then don't let them watch the shows that teach what only brain-damaged, incompetent people (like Disney and Nickelodeon script writers) would do. I guess you should just get rid of your TVs altogether. (If you have an extra-nice 60", High Def, digital TV, send it my way. I don't have any kids to protect from Spongebob or Camp Rock.

Now that you have done that (gotten your children their school supplies and clothing, that is), it's time for you to prepare them for rising earlier than they have been all summer. Noon is not morning!

I would start by waking them every hour or so throughout the night for about a week. (Hey, they did it to you for years after you first brought them home from hospital as a baby--turn about is fair play). Waking them like this will make them appreciate sleeping in until 5:30am. Tough love, I know, but ya' gotta do what ya' gotta do!

When they are thoroughly broken-in to the new schedule, it's time to get them practiced and ready to walk to the bus stop. Rain or shine, you should march them off, backpacks loaded with rocks or bricks, or whatever best simulates the uncountable number of books they will be assigned in class, and have them stand on the corner, waiting for the hypothetical bus. If you really want to get them ready, you should paint your minivan puke yellow and drive them to the school yourself. Make sure that you ask their favorite bully along so that the experience will be the most realistic. I'm sure that the bully's mother will be excessively grateful to you for taking the little hellion off of her hands for a while. Just don't be surprised if she's not there when you get back. She will have entered witness protection and relocated to the upper Ukraine. That kid really is a jerk and we all know it.

Okay. Your kids have supplies, clothes, and are prepared for the arduous trip to school. Now what? Oh, yes. The good-bye to summer party. A camp over is good. Make sure you are not the poor saps at who's house the "party" is held. I would not be those people for ANYTHING!

The broken furniture, the lost sanity, the "scorched earth" remains of the back yard, the terrorized pets. Those were good times as a child. As a child, I reiterate. Under no circumstances (unless you are a masochist) would you want to actually host this little shindig as an adult.

Make sure that you get signed wavers from all those hosting the camp over. You don't want them filing a lawsuit against you for any loss of life or income. Besides, they have to prove that those fingers WEREN'T missing before the kids found the automatic garage door opener.

Well, I think that covers all the really important points about returning your kids to day prison, I mean school. Done properly, the back-to-school experience can provide your children with the years and years of "not ready for school" nightmares that we all cherish in our adult lives. (What class am I supposed to have? What is my locker combination? I can't remember my teacher's name or even which classroom I'm assigned to! I didn't know there was a test today! Why am I sitting in my class with only my tighty whities on?)

Now you can be sure that the children are well on their way to a healthy, happy, productive adult life wherein they will be able to support their favorite psychologist's lavish lifestyle for years to come.

Use this information well. Be safe out there! It's a crazy world!

They said I needed photos.

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Made from scratch.

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Comments 6 comments

RGNestle profile image

RGNestle 6 years ago from Seattle Author

I have been dealing with a new job recently and haven't really gotten the new writing schedule figured out yet. I'm working on it.

I also began this for one of the Hubpages contests, but didn't get a chance to finish it until now. Not my best work, but it's finished which means I'm writing again.

Take care, All!


Michael Dyer 6 years ago

Very funny. I remember that JC Pennys' dungeon too. Stores just aren't the same any more.


RGNestle profile image

RGNestle 6 years ago from Seattle Author

I'm glad it wasn't just my imagination. lol


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Hello friend, I want to let you know that their is no way to contact you under your profile picture like other people oh hubs, second I wanted to let you know you forgot to place a section for people to leave comments which will hurt your profit and feedback. I loved the hub. also this is a great hub and I rate up your friend & fan, darski


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 5 years ago from London, UK

An enjoyable read and thanks for sharing your childhood memories.


mattdigiulio profile image

mattdigiulio 4 years ago

"The broken furniture, the lost sanity, the "scorched earth" remains of the back yard, the terrorized pets."

I liked this whole essay. You had me laughing throughout, and the observational humor was especially tangible. Good stuff! Voting up and funny, interesting, etc.

Best, Matt D

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