Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ring Ring Goes the Bell...

(Feel free to keep groovin' to the music while you read this.)

Books covered. Check.
Lunch packed. Check.
Uniform ironed. Check.
Calculator functioning. Check.
Summer reading complete. Check.
New schedule in hand. Check.
Smile on Face. Check.

'Tis truethe very first day back to school for you, my sweet eighth grader.  Do you look the least bit worried?  You couldn't be happier—how you love your school, you think your going off to a party, a Chuck Berry concert, twisting the day away, a back-to-school lollapalooza of World History, Algebra 1 and Art. A full year of Art! Again! What will you do when you have to take a real elective, like...well... Spanish or French (oh Français s'il vous plaît, please choose French)?

Eighth grade, where The Language of Literature awaits you, Little ManI'm already sifting through your at-home duplicate copy (which I purchased online because I know that you'll forget to bring your book home and anyway, it's an awful heavy reader to be lugging to and fro school) of this hard-covered magnum opus. I see a whole section dedicated to Mark Twain. Twainthe one who wouldn't let school interfere with his education (but I won't tell you about that particular quote) yet still managed to become one of our greatest American writers. Perhaps you read about him in this year's Old Farmer's Almanac—you know, the one in our first floor bathroom. Maybe I will actually convince you to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn this year. Maybe I'll read it again myself. And maybe your English teacher will help you understand the significance of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451your required summer readingthe little novel that so frustrated you, its theme you thought irrelevant, or maybe just odd (technology attached to you at the hip). But know this, Little Man, in 2010 this fifty-seven year old parable, a literary classic, could not be more relevant! Oh, maybe I should just rent the movie and have you watch it. 

Eighth grade, where Science will reveal many serious matters, compounds, mixtures and important minerals (like diamonds), and we can talk all about Libebcnofne and Namgalsipsclar... and other little tricks... and my days in chemistry class with Mortimer Simons—the original mad scientist.

Eighth grade, where the algebraic equation is waiting to wrap its linear arms around you and perplex you with all its inequalities. Sorry to say Little Man, I won't be of much help to you in that cozy little huddle. I recall the cold cuddle I had with Mr. Buonanno when he told me with his mean molars and thin eyes that I passed his high school class "by the skin of my teeth."  It won't do you (or me) much good if I finger through the duplicate copy of that colossal codexask your uncle, the one with whom I went to college, about my, shall we say, adventure with Math 109. I've forgotten now how many times I took it. (And as far as I'm concerned, parentheticals and expressions ought to be reserved strictly for use in sentences.)

Enjoy 8th grade little man, because after this year it gets pretty serious, in high school that is. Doesn't it?

Hail, hail, off you go Little Man... 

...American history and practical math, you'll be studyin' hard and hopin' to pass. (Won't you now?!) 

Meanwhile, I'll be waiting for your 'lil sis to return to schoolnext week!at which time I'll be doing the twist. Hail, hail School Days!


  1. Good Lord, we had better hope that the poor boy has better math skills than his mother - and his father for that matter. English majors rarely make good mathematicians. In fact, I just discovered that I can't even spell mathematician. Thank goodness for spell check. I only wish we had a math version of spell check.

  2. Math Check software? Brilliant - should look into that!