Friday, August 8, 2008

Rag & Bone

That's how the short-term financial future feels during -- and before -- and especially after -- the harrowing experience of back-to-school shopping. Get caught up on a series of medical extortions bills, liquor cabinet replenishments various car repairs and the utilities -- from the past nine winters -- and then this annual torment. Never fucking fails.

"Well, you little bastards won't stop growing, so in addition to outfitting you in a swanky new wardrobe every August while poor ole dad is stuck with his closetful of ragged, moth-eaten t-shirts -- no it's not by choice, I'm very fashionable and you know it -- they didn't change the dress code again, did they, 'cause I'm not taking all this shit back -- I have to continue feeding you. It's a law or something, and unlike the President, I follow the law.

Here's a loaf of bread. No, it's white, organic whole wheat's too expensive. No, that's not it for dinner. There's butter in the fridge. Toss some PB&J on it if you want. Fine, have cereal. Just enough milk for one of you? Flip a goddamn coin, Texas steel cage match, I don't care.

Whaddya mean each student has to bring in an additional pack of pencils? Popsicle sticks just don't hold the same constructive charm? What the hell is your class going to do with 60 boxes of tissue? Contract the Black Death? The teachers are collecting the red pens? Why don't they buy their own fucking pens?"

At least our high schooler doesn't show any inclination like some of these kids do towards dressing up as if employed by the Vegas "burlesque" shows Republicans enjoy railing against in the presence of their constituents before they slink away to spend thousands at those same businesses in anticipation of railing against them once more when the cameras are rolling. I knew we were good parents. Must've been all that death metal and commie propaganda I made them listen to growing up while mom and dad were holed up watching "burlesque" shows in our bedroom.



Anonymous said...

Man, you are singing my song. We went bare bones on the supplies. No kleenex? Fine. They have sleeves, don't they? Because they sure as shit aren't allowed to wear sleeveless shirts.

scheherazade said...

One of my daughter's pet peeves is seeing stuff on the supply list that are obviously materials for the teacher, not the student---such as dry erase board markers. Hmmm....the kids don't have a dry erase board, they don't receive small dry erase boards during the year, but for some reason, the teacher needs three markers, blue, black and red. Oh, and those tissues! My granddaughter said they need that many because when the teacher does her nails, she has to wipe off the nail polish remover. I'm not kidding, that's what she said! Our tax dollars are going to the care and upkeep of teacher's fingernails. I'm waiting to see "Nail polish-Apple Red" on the next list.

Mary Ellen said...

Crap--that message above was from Nunly, my daughter must have been on my computer again. Sorry.

La Belette Rouge said...

I think you could have worked shoes into this post. You know "baby needs a new pair of shoes." I am just trying to help you. You owe me a shoe post, speaking of debt.;-)

DivaJood said...

Gives new meaning to NCLB, doesn't it? Kleenex so Ms. Pink can do her nails. WTF?

When I am Preszilnut and Nunly is VP, I promise that the TEACHERS will have to buy their own damn dry erase markers. As for your sartorial splendor, Randal, all I can say is 'whatever.'

Anonymous said...

Diva - you may want to rethink having the teacher buy their own supplies. Most of them already do plenty of that (says the grumpy wife of a school teacher).

How about we go back to a system where our schools have enough money to buy things like erasers and markers and books and toilet paper?

If Kleenex is too much to expect (because the definition of necessity does begin to creep ever so much), then let each kid bring in their own damn kleenex like we did - stuffed in our pockets.

Randal Graves said...

dcup, that's the reason sleeves were invented!

ME, I'm very surprised to hear that. We've been buying nail polish remover for them for years.

LBR, yeah, well, you still owe me a football one. That Federer tennis deal doesn't count. ;-)

diva, No Cuticle Left Behind. The new clothes cost more - come on, someone invent reverse shrinking detergent - but it's the little things adding up. And all the fundraisers and extra sessions of class picturing (spring pictures? WTF?)

dcup, but real Americans know that edumacation is for fancy latte drinkers. I was utterly shocked when the local school levy actually passed last time. We had the FBI raid some Dem county bigwigs recently - good job, corrupt assholes, save that for the GOP - and a local school board dude was caught up in it. So there's no way in hell the next levy will pass.

Billions wasted on John Wayne adventuring so oil men can get one more McMansion, but actually funding education is something akin to licking Stalin's nuts clean. This country is so fucking stupid.

I say we all blow our nose and dump the booger and mucus saturated tissues on the White House lawn.

La Belette Rouge said...

Randal: Um, the deal was I write sports and you write shoes. But, actually, yesterday I wrote about football. So does that mean you will write two shoe posts???;-)

Dean Wormer said...

If I was a teacher my supply list would read-

(1) bottle of Glendronach 30.yrs
(4) boxes Montecristo Cubas
(1) cigar cutter
(1) triple sec
(1) box pipe screens
(2) dvds straight porn (nothing kinky.)
(1) shoebox filled with 20s.

DivaJood said...

Dcup, I was being snarky above.

Personally, I think the school boards ought to be buying teachers their supplies - not the kids, not the teachers. I think teachers ought to be paid better than they are; that they should be in classrooms with small enough numbers of students to actually teach rather than do crowd control. And that this insane No Child Left Behind program be put in the shit box.

So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Anonymous said...

Diva - You could win election on that platform alone!

Randal Graves said...

LBR, yeah, you did mention Oregon State footballery, but don't you think expectations of a second shoe post is pushing the boundaries of reality? ;-)

dean, you might be the coolest teacher ever. In regards to #2, I hope that means no ferret rubbing.

diva, see, this is yet one more reason why you should be president.

dcup, well, better thrown in a line about how not supporting higher teacher pay and better supplied children is supporting terrorism or communists or gay terrorist communists.

Freida Bee said...

Well, I am glad that the anti-teacher rhetoric has died down a little, because I'm going into a lot of debt here to become a math teacher. At my sons' elementary school, the PTA reimburses the teachers who ask $50 each, though I know for a fact that the teachers spend money out of their own pockets for supplies. My daughters' middle school teaches math without a text book, because the school can't afford it and in one of the waiting periods, they started to make their own, grade-level coordinated hand-outs, though copy paper is in short supply as well. It really is pitiful. It makes that old bumper sticker, "It will be a fine day when the schools have all the money they need and the military has to have a bake sale to buy a bomber."

Parents, who are over-worked and short on time, have also been pushing to do away with the crappy fundraisers that promote the collecting of unnecessary stuff we don't need only to hand over half to the supplier and just ask for straight out donations. Schools are not getting by financially and the teachers of the wealthier/ better performing schools are the ones getting bonuses? Shit, I could get on a soap box here, but I can't afford one. We're getting by on one bar of soap at a time.

Randal Graves said...

FB, I don't think there was any anti-teacher rhetoric, despite my angry rant and diva's snark. You know I love the learning. I think you guys who want to be teachers are insane, but in the good way. Education is ridiculously underfunded, if it's funded at any level above the barest minimum dictated by regulations and soulless actuaries, and then everything 'extra' costs an arm and a leg. I see students, who are no doubt going into debt via high-rate loans - whatever happened to fucking grants? the military must need the next-next-generation of über-bombers - spending 3, 4, 5 hundred bucks for books for one lousy semester. That's a fuckload of cash and that's only at the college level.

I'd much rather the schools say "look, we're short on x, y and/or z. Can you help out, no tasteless chocolate bars or Chinese-made trinkets to sell."

There's an inverse relationship between what we spend on things we shouldn't spend that much on and everything else. That's mathy, no?

okjimm said...

Just wait until they are in college.....

and the 'shopping list' includes

lab fees
text books...


Ya, what Freida said.....I used to hate those fucking fund raisers.... I used to just call up the kid's teachers and ask what they would need/want....and cut them a check. It was one thing the ex and I always agreed on.

We have alot of teachers in the family.... it is not a easy job....

Missy said...

Five kids--one going to college--new everything. Ugh.

It's nice that we're getting a new football stadium, so we let go of a few teachers in the process--our priorities are right, ain't they?

DivaJood said...

You mean, it's not because of my good looks that I should be Prezilnut?

Randal Graves said...

okjimm, my favorite is the ubiquitous 'general fee.' Fine, one military guy, but the colonel and the lieutenants have to pay their own way.

My mom was a teacher way back in the Jurassic and I've got a couple of cousins that are. They're all nuts.

missy, shit, now I don't feel so bad. Thanks! I love me some football, believe me, but come on. We can spend public money on a new stadium - because that 25-year old one is no longer 'competitive' - when we pay for a bunch of other stuff first.

diva, I didn't want to come across as shallow, like those celebrities Obama and McCain. Obviously you and Nunly are the hottest ticket. Imagine if you could get your dear Alan to film a spot for you.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I wish you had written this a few days later. Yesterday, the missus told me that she got a sneak preview of our boys schedules and school supply list. She works in our local schools system and was privy to this top secret information. She remarked that this year, our youngest will have four male teachers, all of whose supply list was quite simple and spartan. The female teachers on the otherhand were quite detailed and specific. Hopefully, I'm not kicking off a gender war here, but I know which list will cost us less.

Randal Graves said...

If you think I'm stepping into that, you're fucking nuts. ;-)