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Lurching Towards Idiocy

August 10, 2009

267_mOnce your child has left the early education years behind, nothing, and I mean NOTHING will make a parent feel more like an idiot than trying to help them get ready to go back to school.   I had a decent education, but my daughter is entering high school this year, and I’m already in over my head.

In the early years, the Back-to-School thing was simple:  Go to store for items on school supplies list.  Begin by selecting a backpack featuring said child’s favorite cartoon character in the whole wide world, just please buy it for me, Mom, I swear I will use it the entire year.  Said character automatically becomes the least favorite character EVER as soon as you’ve gotten the backpack home, removed the tags and written the child’s name on it in indelible ink.

Return to store with backpack, receipt and severed tags, deftly hiding crossed-out child’s name from suspicious cashier and convince him/her to let you return it.  Go back to backpack aisle, the inventory of which has shrunk in proportions that suggest that the entire population of Australia has been backpack-shopping there in the hour and a half since you originally left the store.  Purchase NON-cartoon-character-festooned backpack in child’s supposed favorite color, walking well ahead of hysterical child, who is loping along pitifully because you put your foot down and wouldn’t allow child to have the Death Metal-inspired World Wrestling backpack with real metal spikes on it.   Make attempt to sound perky and upbeat as you grab that teachable moment to point out to child that compromise is a part of life, and DID YOU NOT SEE ME ELBOW THAT OTHER MOM IN THE RIBCAGE in order to snag the very last backpack in child’s favorite color???  End life lesson with publicly genial and semi-coherent warning to child that favorite color is now not permitted to change until adulthood.

Dig through desk at home, in kitchen cabinets and under living room couch for pencils,  crayons, glue sticks, etc. to scrounge up rest of items on school supplies list in order to avoid ever having to go back to that store.  Throw contents into backpack and write a nice note to the child’s teacher explaining how re-using last year’s school supplies is a core, family religious belief and it would mean so much to you and your child if the teacher conveniently forgot to bring it up in class.

Realize just as child waves goodbye and doors close on first day of school that you forgot to buy the child a lunchbox.  Return to store and snickering cashier to fetch last lunchbox in existence, scooting expertly around store employees, who are now busy putting up Christmas decorations.  Grab lunch-friendly items off shelf in store, pay, remove lunchbox tags, write child’s name on it in indelible ink as you careen back down the highway to school so your child doesn’t starve to death, and congratulate yourself on delivering lunch to your child just in time.   Child loses lunchbox no later than 6th day of school.

Mentally and physically draining?  Sure.   But not threatening to one’s intelligence.

back2schoolToday, however, I bought a calculator for my daughter, who is much, much smarter than her mother and who will be studying a branch of mathematics in her first year of high school that I wasn’t even ceremoniously banned from until at least my third year of college.   This math class apparently requires a Scientific Calculator, which, for those of you unfamiliar with such things, has keys with symbols on them that are not in any language I recognize and was able to immediately deduce that it, like my daughter, is already smarter than I am.   And despite the fact that I paid a hefty price to liberate it from the store, despite the fact that I breathed life into it by feeding it the damn batteries it needs for survival, it proceeded to taunt me.

“My RAM is unmatched by others”, it boasted as the screen flickered to life, “and I can calculate linear regressions and find polynomial roots…”

“So? I know how to write the word ‘hello’ on a calculator.  Upside down.  o7734.”

“Not on me you don’t.”

“That’s true… where ARE the numbers, anyway?”

“Please access the appropriate tutorial for that information.  Oh wait… you can’t even find the numbers HAHAHAHAHAHAA….”

Fortunately, I have a few good brain cells left and was able to yank the batteries before it got too uppity for its own good.  It can come to life in better hands than mine when my daughter starts school.

Oh, and ‘boob’.  I can write the word ‘boob’, too.  8008.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. nynynyny permalink
    August 25, 2010 4:19 PM

    Damn! I have a scientific calculator here that I have no use for. Really.

    • Deb permalink*
      August 25, 2010 4:21 PM

      This wouldn’t happen to be a TI-89, would it? 🙂

  2. Sharon Weinstein permalink
    August 25, 2009 12:20 PM

    Hey Deb, happy back to school! Rest assured, the scientific calculator is a value-added purchase. Hopefully, your daughter didn’t drag you to Victoria’s Secret, which marketing geniuses have effectively made even the smartest high school girls believe is the only legitimate emporium suitable to outfit their 8008’s and other body parts. That’s where I draw the line.

    • Deb permalink*
      August 25, 2009 1:50 PM

      Sharon, nope, that’s where I draw the line as well!

  3. Dana permalink
    August 21, 2009 5:43 PM

    Just wait till you see next year’s calculator!

    • Deb permalink*
      August 25, 2009 1:48 PM

      Dana, I’ll start saving now… 😦

  4. August 10, 2009 10:47 PM

    Sweet Jesus! I’m exhausted just reading this post. Obviously, the important part of this piece (and obvious sign that you are an incredible mother) is the fact that you can write “boob.” Nothing else matters. Nothing.

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