BY DARREN HANDSCHUH
The TV commercial sums it up perfectly.
You know the one ñ well you parents out there know the one.
It's the back-to-school commercial using the classic Christmas carol that goes “It's the most wonderful time of the year...”
Parents know what I am talking about and you can tell who the parents are because they are the ones who have been looking at the calender and smiling uncontrollably for the last week.
It is that wonderful season where the leaves are turning colour, the air is crisp and, most importantly, the kids are returning to that place of learning that not only offers increased education, but gives parents a much needed break.
Can you give me an “Amen.”
Depending on what grade your sproggs are in, school can mean freedom from the little ones for up to seven hours.
The song Dancing in the Streets also comes to mind.
You load the little ones up with their lunch and send them off (smiling all the way), or if you have teens like I do, you drag them out of bed and force them out the door (smiling all the way).
Either way, they are out of the house and you can then do that dancing I was talking about.
I am not much of a drinker, but a small glass of celebratory champagne always seems in order somehow. You watch them trudge down the sidewalk along with hundreds of other kids, all thinking about the summer past and how it went so fast.
Parents also think about the summer past, how it went so fast and how much you appreciate the fact it went so fast and it is now time to shuffle the kids off to the hallowed hallways of higher learning.
Don't get me wrong, I love my kids and I enjoy spending time with them because I know they will soon outgrow their childhood home and move on. We had a good summer of family vacations, mini-road trips, camping and hitting the beach, but after two months of “family togetherness” a little “family separation” is a welcome break.
It is also needed. Separation makes the heart grow fonder, but how can I miss you if you don't go away.
The downside of back to school is the expense of getting all the kit they need these days.
As a youngster, my parents had to shell out their hard-earned cash for paper, pens, books and the usual trappings needed in the public school system.
Today, the request is not for more lined paper, but for a laptop powerful enough to operate the space shuttle. It also costs just slightly less than my first two cars ñ combined.
They “neeeed” the laptop. They cannot possibly attend school without it and they certainly cannot succeed with out it.
“What about the PC downstairs? That still works, doesn't it?”
“Barely. It is old, it is slow and I can't pack it around with me everywhere I go.”
“But, you can do your school work on it though, right?”
“Well, yes, but it is old and slow and I can't pack around with me every where I go. I neeeeed a laptop. You want me to do the best I can do, right, well, I neeeeed a laptop to do that.”
Good one kid, you are learning the art of parental manipulation and how to exploit the situation to best serve your wants. I guess they learn more than how to read and write in school.
Now if you will excuse me, I have to go shopping for a laptop because, it would seem Junior “neeeds” one or he will wind up flunking out of school and living under a bridge somewhere all because I did not get a new computer machine thingy.
But I guess in an age of technology, a slide ruler and a multi-colour pen just isn't going to cut it any more.