School's In Session

Whenever the school year starts up, I'm reminded of why it's good to be 24 (...because I have to be reminded). School really is "out forever," and the kid-in-me's dream is realized. However, I wouldn't have been a true dork as a kid if I wasn't also slightly excited about going back. Granted, I wouldn't have complained if summer went on forever, of course, but if I had to leave it anyways, I used to figure I might as well embrace the change. And admit it, sometimes getting back to the grind, showing off your new jeans and pencil sharpener, and flopping down on a plastic seat before a chalkboard (rather than a couch before a TV), has its own charms too.

So it's back to TI-108 calculators and Weekly Readers, to colored notebooks and Trapper Keepers--back to cafeteria followed by recess, plastic trays and tater tots followed by rope swings and metal slides--back to girls with their Lisa Frank backpacks and boys with their Sketchers Hot Lights--back to classroom fish and "Great Job!" stickers, to strange clapping games and sitting on the carpet, to Crayola 45-packs, scented markers, and Sharpies you can get high from smelling--back to dorky, colorful cutouts of happy ethnically and capably diverse kids gracing the covers of everything like no other reality is allowed.

It's back to music class "recorders" and maracas, art class scrubs and sponges, gym class bean bags and "stretching stations"--back to having a desk with your name on it and a tiny shelf space underneath where you can store your notebooks, glasses case, retainer, and used gum (for later)--back to "show and tell" where the only act you really care about is your own--back to a place where the bathroom is officially called "the boys'/girls' room" and you have to sign a piece of paper just to go to it, or "bring along a friend." Yes. It's back to learning stuff you'll be forgetting in time for next summer.

Actually no, it would be all that if this was September of '94. It's obviously not, so my guess is as good as yours as to what  kids these days are going back to. But with all that going on, you both wonder why you left it, and already know the answer.

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