Kickin’ it old skool for back-to-skool

24 Aug

(Word up to Katie Dersnah Mitchell, who probably got caught smokin’ in the girls’ room and making out under the bleachers, for our latest escapade.)

Nothing says back-to-school quite like Wal-Mart commercials that make you feel less guilty for shopping there or trite Meg Ryan quotes from a certain movie I may or may not LOVE. Kids today don’t appreciate the allure of a Trapper Keeper (plain or with the picture of puppies on the front?) or buying a compass year after year only to finally use it in 10th grade. They’ve probably already established schoolyard hierarchy in SchoolVille and who needs black ‘n’white marbled composition books when you’ve got an iPad? Hopefully I am just jaded (duh) and back-to-school is just as vomit-inducing as when I was a kid. (Reasons include: forgetting to do summer reading until night before, not having Guess? jeans, wondering if your “Dukes of Hazzard” lunchbox makes you look too butch, bad perm, worried about stranger danger, etc.) Luckily we’ve found a book to help you through the worries and flurries of back-to-school angst for those entering their high school years. And since we all know no one in high school actually reads media for high schoolers, the following book was probably read by incredibly earnest, bespeckled 11-year-old girls already worried about growing breasts in time for prom (give it up, girls and resign yourself to refilling the punch bowl.) We present (for anyone starting a new venture, really) “Hi There, High School!” (sing it Barbra style, you queen.)

"Uh yeah, high school, could you not talk so loudly? Or kiss me good-bye when you drop me off? Or even drop me off in front of EVERYONE?"

Yeah, you read it right. The author of this book is GAY HEAD. GAY HEAD. This book is written by a GAY HEAD!  I wonder if her husband is named “Richard”?

Because "blueprint to the hell that is the next four years of your life" wasn't upbeat enough.

The author clearly went to school in a thorazine-induced haze. Does ANYONE outside of Patty Simcox polish the school sign like it’s Hugh Jackman’s gleaming abdomen? It’s like a guide to being the most annoying nerd ever, and not in the cool, watches “Star Trek” way. A reeeeal good way to make a good first impression is to ask some senior what the school insignia means. I’d love to see that episode of “Gossip Girl.” And I love the guilt-inducing “If you’re really proud of your school, you’ll learn its customs and traditions.” And if you really love America, you’ll learn English upon arrival and not try to build scary kooky cult centers near our sacred grounds.  Word.

 Actually, high school is much worse than the outside world, but with a better benefits package. Yep, math is essential for figuring out which countries full of starving people dying of diahrrea are communist threats and must be bombed into holy hell. It is also essential for figuring out how much money your pension is losing because your company invested in Enron.
We also see why current references age your book quicker than a baby on a soap opera.
Clearly, the same goes for slang, unless if I am mistaken and the kids are still sayin’ stuff like “save the “cat sessions” for the soda shop later. If you get the gong…” If fact, I am pretty sure the author stone-cold stole this from that new Clay Aiken song I hear is all the rage.


 I think “Traffigoon” sticks out most here, even amongst messages of not being an individualist. Challenge: get your kid to start using this word. I am imagining the kid who makes it their duty to follow instructions to the letter and probably whines, “you guys, you are not following proper fire drill protocol and you are creating a very dangerous situation for the rest of us.” I think you can hear that voice, right? He’s the one making millions of dollars years later. Or he’s selling comic books.

Etiquette for People Raised in Closets. And doesn’t Jell-O sound so much more romantic when it’s called “gelatine”? C’est comme “nouilles et fromage en casserole.”

And by the way licking and lapping are GREAT ways to get a date for prom when you’re only a freshman (no matter your gender.)

 And do you re-ully think high schoolers talk like hillbillies out of a Wayans Brothers’ movie? No wonder they hate us all. And I am totally confused by the “Both girls would look bee-utiful in Technicolor!” remark. Does that mean the olden days really were in black and white?

“Sit in a comfortable, perpendicular position and pay attention.” I like the specificity of these directions (um, yeah, that is more of an obtuse position) and how they are clearly preparing kids to follow directions like sheep. It’s soooo getting kids ready to be adults in the Reagan era. Where’s the guide for rich kids who DON’T have to follow the rules and get to steal people’s money and snort blow off of strippers’ g-strings? Is it next to “Ketchup: Nature’s Vegetable”?

Dude, this book so explains why the 1980s were full of tainted Tylenol and New Coke.



1. When did cheerleading become a “job”?

2. Why is this book so damn preachy? (Guess: because it’s intended audience is 11 and still listens to their parents.)

3. Will this book actually help anyone accomplish anything other than a constipation-inducing need to follow rules to the letter? And then later become a CPA.

4. Notice everything here is referred to as a “job.” Which reminds me of that quote from Samantha on “Sex and the City,” “..there’s a reason why they call it a JOB.” And also says fun things are not worth doing unless they are somehow comodified. My dad would freakin’ LOVE this book.

This is why I had eight lockers in high school. And one was dedicated to clothes for when the Vice Principal inevitably had to ask me to change.

This last paragraph is just so fraught with hand-wringing and dabbing one’s eyes with hankies. Any time you can use the phrase “carelessness” with teens, you will get so far with them. Add language like “the school plant and its equipment” and you’ve got a recipe for a hip, with-it message sure to inspire good citizenship and keep the hippies away.

I further appreciate the explanation of what private vs. public property is. Because you can handle complex stuff like this now that you’re in high school, yo.

We’ve got 10 more pages to go and miles before we sleep, so write a note on a paper napkin and slip it into your kids’ lunches before cocktail hour! In other words, to be continued.


One Response to “Kickin’ it old skool for back-to-skool”

  1. Devin April 2, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    I can’t believe you didn’t have a quip about “Bang-Bang” Jessie Jane. Too easy?

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