Friday, August 23, 2013

Back to school blues no more

It is no secret the English language can be a confusing thing to get a handle on.
Take the word 'strike' for example.
You can strike up a conversation, strike someone on the bean (who desperately deserves it) and you can go on strike when your boss is being a big poopy head. Oh, and a baseball player can strike out (like I used to do every single time I went to a night club.)
You can also eat a steak, or drive a stake into the ground. They may be spelled differently, but sound exactly alike making for a potentially confusing conversation for someone who is not in tune with the nuances of the most widely spoken language in the world.
The meaning of a collection of words can also be different even though they are spelled and pronounced exactly the same.
Take 'back to school' for example. It can be both good, and bad.
As a young lad trapped in the public school system (also known as the seventh level of hell,) those words were a bad thing.
Everytime I would hear back-to-school commercials, my skin would crawl and I would develop an overwhelming urge to gather my belongings and go live in a cave in the hills somewhere.
School was not exactly a fun time for me and I felt about as wanted as a rash at a nudist colony.
I suffered through years of being bullied by classmates, some of whom I had known since Grade 1 and should have been my closest friends.
If anyone tells you being bullied is no big deal they were more than likely the ones doing the bullying.
Anyone who has been on the receiving end knows the impact it has. They know it is a big deal.
But I survived my years of torment and found a great deal of freedom when I began hanging out with a group from a different high school.
Even into my adult years, back-to-school ads generated a twinge of fear and loathing.
However, my middle-aged cranium has a new back-to-school emotion to deal with: glee.
Never in my life would I think back to school was a good thing, then I had kids.
I love my children. I love being around them, playing games with them and hanging out with them, but eventually it is mutually agreed that time apart is necessary.
Like the saying goes, "How can I miss you if you won't go away?"
So now back to school means getting rid of the kids, um, I mean celebrating their advancement to the next level of education.
My two youngest actually enjoy school – a strange concept I am still wrapping my head around. They get good grades, have lots of friends and in general fit very well with the school mold that spat me out like a bug in a bowl of soup.
And that is a good thing. They are not upset to see the back-to-school commercials. Sure they wish summer vacation could last for ever, but they are also looking forward to seeing all their friends.
And to be honest, I am looking forward to a little more peace and quite around the homestead.
I will actually be able to use the computer when I need it and I might even be able to find the remote to the TV on occasion. There will even be a little more food left in the fridge as Junior's friends head back to their own homes to hunker down for another season of higher education.
I will have to re-mortgage the house to pay for all of those back-to-school supplies, but that is to be expected, not enjoyed, but accepted as part of the fall ritual.
So there are finally good things to be said for back to school – as long as I'm not the one going back.

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