I May Not Have Approached This With the Proper Attitude

“Rainier Middle School OPEN HOUSE. Thursday, 7:00 – 8:45 pm. Please join us at 7:00 pm in the Gymnasium for a brief presentation regarding school-wide programs. At approximately 7:15 pm you will be dismissed to your child’s first period class. You will follow your child’s schedule for the evening. We will be providing you with an evening time schedule and a map of the building to assist you.”

It should be obvious that there are two main problems with the foregoing invitation. First, after adding travel time, the school is asking for a good two hours of our lives—two hours spent back in the Hell-on-Earth which is middle school. And, since this is a parent-only event, attending would require us to pay a babysitter three hours’ worth of wages or to cross our fingers and hope our children are capable of spending an evening without endangering themselves or each other. Fat chance of finding a babysitter and fatter chance that the kids won’t assault each other in our absence. Fabulous.

The second problem is perhaps the bigger affront: No where in the text of this invitation can you find the words, “Open Bar.”

Nevertheless, we strapped the kids into their straight jackets and muzzles (since a babysitter wasn’t available) and trotted off to the middle school to get a flavor of our daughter Peaches’s current life.

It’s amazing how quickly otherwise reasonable adults can revert to junior high mentality once under the roof of the local middle school. I couldn’t stop myself from making snotty, sarcastic comments just under my breath as the principal droned on and on at the assembled parents. Howser elbowed me and suggested that I should try for the teacher rather than the student perspective. Good advice, but I’ve never taught middle school, only high school. Yes, that’s right—I used to be a high school English teacher. Here we shall observe a brief moment of silence to allow anyone visiting this site from England to hang his head and shed a tear; please accept my apologies for all the damage I and my fellow Americans (especially my former students and our current president) have inflicted on your native tongue.

Do we all feel strong enough to carry on? Good. Let’s continue.

The main thing the evening did for me was to improve my attitude about my present age. I may find a few more gray hairs every day, but at least I’ll never have to go back to middle school. I feel so sorry for Peaches. I was spitting mad at the whole place in less than two hours. She’s going to have to spend the next three years of her life with those people. You’d think things would have improved since the dark epoch when Howser and I were her age, and a few things have. In fact, there was just one aspect of the school that hadn’t shown a hint of evolution over the past thirty years: the P.E. department. I especially loved their policy forcing parents to take their child to the doctor if he or she misses P.E. for more than two days. After that point, parents can’t be trusted to judge their own child too sick to participate. Parents are required to go to the time and expense to of an otherwise unnecessary medical appointment merely because the P.E. teachers don’t trust them to exercise their own judgment. It all makes me wonder if, as part of the licensing process, P.E. teachers are still required to demonstrate their own physical flexibility by inserting their heads up their asses. I suspect so.

Like the saying goes, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach. Those who can’t teach, teach P.E.”

Thank God each and every day you draw breath that you are no longer in middle school. I know I do.

(P.S. Did anyone see “Blogs of Note” tonight? It featured a site called–get this–lookathisbutt.blogspot.com. The main focus of this noted blog is evidently William Shatner’s southern hemisphere. And you all thought I had too much time on my hands–ha!)

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. OldHorsetailSnake
    Sep 17, 2005 @ 07:16:00

    You're having entirely too much fun.

    Reply

  2. Jona
    Sep 17, 2005 @ 10:59:00

    Geeze, and I thought my kids schools were cruel on us parents!

    Reply

  3. Dave
    Sep 17, 2005 @ 22:27:00

    Never mind. You can't help being American.

    Reply

  4. FTS
    Sep 18, 2005 @ 09:58:00

    It's a miracle we all made it through those formative years relatively unscathed. Middle School/Junior High is like being the middle child… you just try to ignore them and hope they move on.Oh, and I'm a fan of Star Trek and Captain Kirk, but I'll pass on his southern hemisphere. 😉

    Reply

  5. Danger Panda
    Sep 18, 2005 @ 20:06:00

    I too am finding it hard to believe that at this late date there are people out there who are fixated on Capt. Kirk's nether regions. Ew. Just Ew.

    Reply

  6. KaLeigh
    Sep 27, 2005 @ 10:33:00

    YOU, my lady, are a hoot! I think I'm married to the same type of potted plant that you are. Maybe it's a cutting off it? I have to hold a mirror under my beloved's nose to see if he's still breathing– And that's when he's awake! I feel your pain.

    Reply

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