By Sean Pearson
While perusing the aisles of one of our local grocers this week, I found myself mysteriously beckoned by the odiferous call of Crayola Crayons and Elmer’s Glue.
Ahhhh — the sweet smell of back to school.
It’s true, I no longer have school-age children through which I can enjoy the yearly quest for pencil boxes, pink erasers and safety scissors that can’t cut through butter. (And we wonder why our children get frustrated?)
I’d rather gnaw out a construction paper pumpkin than try to use those stupid scissors.
Back when I was in school, we used the real deal: Razor-sharp, machine-honed, fully-balanced steel mechanisms of cutting power. You could cut through a half-inch piece of plywood with those babies — and still saw through the femur of a formaldehyde-soaked frog in biology.
(Note to self: Don’t forget to dissect vacuum-packed fetal pig in the bathroom.)
Before we go on, let me make it perfectly clear now that I am in no way advocating handing sharp objects over to young children to use on anything. In fact, I don’t think we should even be giving children tools in the first place. Next thing you know, they‘ll be wanting paper and pencils and stuff. Why can’t they just use their imaginations?
So … as I hold my stunningly handsome grandson in my arms and reminisce of the old days of “back to school,” I graciously pass on a few tidbits to all you newbies out there to get you through those long, dark, cold, windy, snowy, 7:22 a.m., everybody-crammed-in-the-car waiting eons at the bus stop moments.
Or, simply feel free to lock the information away somewhere in your subconscious. It’s great for later on in life when you want to kick yourself for not following through on things a long time ago.
Based on my extensive research and subsequent knowledge of everything that is critically irrelevant, (not precluding things I have since forgotten), I offer the following advice to parents entering primary school with their kids for the first time:
If you have any kind of money at all right now, stop what you’re doing and go buy stock in socks, toilet paper, Kleenex and mittens.
It’s OK. I’ll wait.
These are things your child will lose at an incredibly rapid rate. We got to where we’d just buy 23 dozen pairs of socks and hide them around the school. I still find socks around our neighborhood that I think I recognize, but they may just be the ones that absconded with all the left-hand mittens from the dryer.
I believe it was winter 2005 that we had only right-hand mittens. There were no left-hand mittens to be found. Now, if I was someone prone to outlandish theories of a highly classified nature, I might be led to believe there was some kind of “skein scheme” — or “crochet conspiracy,” if you will — brought about by the wool industry.
Better yet, it’s probably the sheep themselves. I knew that whole cloning thing would come back to bite us at some point. Remember all the out-of-work counting sheep on those Serta mattress commercials? Still think it’s all a coincidence?
You know, surprisingly enough, shoes somehow survive the primary school circuit fairly well. I’ve seen shoes traded more swiftly and effortlessly in a kindergarten hallway than stocks on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (OK, so I’ve never been to the New York Stock Exchange. I imagine a raucous and frantic atmosphere of yelling. Let me know if I’m way off.)
I still have no idea whose shoes my daughter came home from school wearing every other night throughout much of her school career. If they were relatively close to the right size, she just wore them until someone else claimed them.
“You told me they weren’t Hailey’s shoes.”
Buy lots of shoes.
And buy lots of Kleenex. If the teacher asks for two boxes, buy 12 cases. I watched three eternally runny-nosed, fourth-grade boys go through a box of Kleenex in 17 minutes, 43 seconds. That’s gotta be a record.
Did I mention shoes? All kinds of shoes.
And boots. You know, you have different shoes for different things. Inside shoes, outside shoes, mud boots, snow boots — and then there’s quiet shoes for nap time.
OK. So I made that one up.
For the life of me, I don’t understand how someone can lose shoes. I just can’t remember ever losing my shoes. I do remember being 3 years old and running across an old wooden bridge at John Knox Presbyterian Church — barefoot. Some angry-looking tweezers, hundreds of splinters and several tears later, I was as good as new.
And I still had my shoes.
Did I mention mittens?
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