Buying School Supplies
Parents held the supply list in one hand and pushed their cart with the other. While kids chose their Walt Disney-themed folders, the parents tried to interpret the list, which was a lot more complicated than when they were kids.
Mothers cornered sales associates in the paper aisle and grilled them.
"So loose leaf and notebook paper are the same thing?" they asked. "Loose leaf is notebook paper. So if I get notebook paper I'm fulfilling the loose leaf requirement. Would you be willing to bet your life on that?"
I guess it's better safe than sorry. You don't want to be that parent. The one referred to as "some parents" in every school newsletter.
"Some parents have been sending soda pop in their children's lunches. Please note that each can has 143 tablespoons of sugar in it, making childhood obesity a likely outcome. Thank you."
"Some parents are deeply in debt in cafeteria lunch money. If you need to be on the federal free and reduced lunch program, why don't you just ask? Thank you."
"Some parents bought the wrong kind of glue specifically described on the school supply list. Please note that our school has a free literacy program for parents who cannot read. Thank you."
So fathers inspected glue as it went into the cart.
"Does that have glitter in it? I don't see anything about glitter here. Get the Elmers. The Elmers. No that's 6 oz. We need 7 oz."
Well, I'm sure schools are actually very nice about accepting slight variations on school supplies.
But let me tell you, the kindergarten school supply list has grown exponentially. In my day, it called for a sturdy twig and a patch of dirt to scratch answers on. Well, maybe not in my day. But in somebody's day I'm sure.
Now you need two boxes of classic markers, one tropical, 3 rolls of film, a ream of xerox paper, two boxes of 24 crayons, a nap pad, wet wipes, paper towels, 12 giant pencils, two posterboards, two glue bottles, and 16 large glue sticks. I just hope Johnny knows how to glue stuff by the end of kindergarten.
Actually, I am happy to see so much on the list. As a former 5th and 6th grade teacher, I know that the little kids' teachers were always running out of supplies and having to buy new ones with their own money. It makes sense to spread the cost out among parents.
Johnny chose his notebook. Cars. No dolphins jumping over the planets. No a tiger standing on the moon. No cars. He went with the dolphins.
Finally, we went to the shoe aisle to buy Justin some new tennis shoes. He wanted Dr. Schoell's in size 11 1/2 with "Are You Gellin'?" soles.
They only had them in black, which Justin okayed over the phone. I assumed they looked like the shoe displayed on top of the box. Lace up low/high tops--like what basketball players wear. So I just threw the shoe box in the cart and went to check out.
Only the next day did I see them.
"Honey, you got me old man shoes," Justin called from the bedroom.
I came in to see black velcro tennis shoes with big soles. Several of the older retarded men I worked with in Arizona had shoes just like it. Which they paired with lime green or pale blue polyester slacks. I could never understand why their mothers bought them clothes like that. Now here I was buying them for my husband.
"They're really comfortable," he added, walking out the door to have a beer with our neighbor.
"I can take them back," I said.
"No, these are great," he said.
He was gellin' like a felon.
It's just a good thing Justin's not in school anymore. The kids on the playground would have a field day with those shoes.
I can just see the school newsletter now.
"Some parents have sent their sons to school wearing hideous black velcro Dr. Schoell's tennis shoes usually worn only by old men. Please note that this contributes to teasing and low self-esteem. Thank you."