Back to school

By John Toth

It’s that time of year again. For millions of students, the care-free days of summer vacation are about to conclude. What seemed in May or June to be never-ending, is ending.

For those who are looking forward to returning to school, all the power to you. There may not be that many of you. For most youngsters, the start of school is not the most exciting time of their lives.

In the ideal world of the child, summer vacation would never stop, and schools would never open.
Which is why grown-ups are entrusted with making back-to-school a fun thing.

Actually, after raising three kids, I have concluded that their three-month summer vacation was probably more work for me than when they were in school. My vacation started when theirs ended.

All of a sudden, it was quiet in the house in the middle of the day.

I could actually get some work done again without something diverting my attention. I could go to the pool and not be crowded by kids. Not that I mind kids, but sometimes it’s better when I can swim a few laps without swatting them out of the way.

To make back-to-school bearable, we have invented the back-to-school sale and tax-free weekend. That’s when parents part with a lot of their money to achieve two goals – to buy all the stuff the kids grew out of, and to bribe the kids into accepting that summer is about to end.

It also gives retailers a boost after the long summer season of lower sales. But, back to the kids.

Yes, no more sleeping until noon, staying up until 2 a.m. It’s time again to be at your school desk at 8 a.m. or earlier, and worry about stuff like homework, term projects, studying for tests and all other school things completely forgotten for the three months.

So, I’m seeing all these commercials for back-to-school shopping. It makes it seem like it’s so much fun to go back to school. I wish we had a chance when I was a kid to look at it like that.

When I was in public school, back-to-school clothes were not a big deal. We wore the same stuff we always wore. The latest fashion trend was wasted on most of us (and it’s still wasted on me). But, that was in the 1970s, when it didn’t make any difference what anyone wore – not that I noticed, anyway.
Now, you have to have just the right pair of shoes and the right combination of shirt and pants. For girls, it gets even more complicated.

I never could feel my kids’ pain when it came to such things, because I never had to go through it. And, they didn’t feel my pain when I paid for all these great clothes that made them so excited about returning to the classroom.

For what I paid for those clothes, I would think they’d be getting a lot of A’s (I wished).

It’s all worth it, though. It’s a good idea to give the kids a jump-start like that. Maybe the new clothes will inspire them for a few weeks.

I googled the phrase back-to-school and hit on 1.8 millions links.

While I wanted to go through every one of them to get a good feel as to how this special time of the year is being treated these days, I ran out of time.

I am using googled as a verb, which may not be legit yet, but probably will be shortly. I’m just way ahead of the times, plus it’s an easy way out.

All of you back-to-school students may have noticed that – as you get ready to pack your bags and gather up all the school supplies that your parents can buy.

I feel that you are already catching that back-to-school spirit. I hope I helped a little. Now, can you think of any more proper names that are also being used as verbs? Maybe later.

Education is a good thing. I was just joking around a little in this column. But seriously, let’s all say it together. Everyone ready? Repeat after me.

“I will not be late on the first day of school.”