Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Labor Day!

No, I haven't taken leave of my senses - or not more than usual, anyway. It's just that I walked into RiteAid today to get some toilet paper (aren't you glad you know that?) and discovered that they had an entire aisle devoted to Back-To-School and autumn decorations.

Now, today is the 10th of July, I believe. NYC public schools let out on the 26th of June. By my count, that means that the kids have been out for about two weeks. WTF?

I have gotten used to seeing Christmas decorations for sale before Halloween. Annoyed, but used to it. I have a very large gift shopping list and a very large grocery list around Christmas, and seeing all that tinsel before I've even begun to think about my (even larger) Thanksgiving grocery shopping list tends to make me panic. Please, guys - could we have summer before back-to-school, and Thanksgiving before Christmas, and all that good stuff?

When I was a girl (that would be 1908 or so), back-to-school occurred in August. It was great (this is when I was in grammar school, which I loved - I HATED high school and was just vile at it). You went out and got all your new underpants and undershirts - little girls don't wear these any more, I don't think, but in my day you started dressing with your Carter's Spanky Pants and your undershirt, which was basically what we now call a wife beater and was, I think, intended to keep your chest warm. Well, I grew up in Chicago. Maybe little girls in warm climates didn't wear them. And you got a new red plaid dress for the first day of school. St. Thomas Apostle, where I went to grammar school (second generation - my mother and my four aunts all went there) was a solid sea of red plaid dresses on the first day of school. And also before school started, the usual package would appear from my older cousins Carol and Cathy with the hand-me-downs - which, if they were in any wearable shape when I got through with them, would then be sent on to my cousin Mary. I think a lot of Mary's clothes had about three distinct hemline marks on them...Carol got them the right length, they were taken up a little for Cathy, a little more for me, then again for poor Mary. I may add here, because this is beginning to sound sort of like Jane Eyre or something, that none of us were poor - it's just that we were 50's kids, and the depression was pretty clear in our parents' minds - use it up, wear it out, make it do. Of course we all had perfectly good brand new clothes to wear, but why waste stuff when the kid grows out of it in a year anyway? And there we were, with a lovely four girl line to pass down through. (My boy cousins passed down too.)

In other news, I have discovered that my new favorite website is which is a compendium of all that is completely nuts about the world today - which means it's a pretty large website. Today's gem was, of course, from England - the nanny state par excellence- which is refusing to let a mother take her severely epileptic son to school until she undergoes a criminal records check. WHAAAT? Now, the state has already given this child a chauffeured car to get him to school - but the chauffeur is certainly not trained to deal with the kid, who requires 32 (yeah, 32) medications a day. Anybody think there's anything just a little off about this? Don't all talk at once.

In another recent story from re England, another mother was refused the right to do something like serve cupcakes at her child's school without a criminal background check. In this case, they discovered that the woman did indeed have a record - only it wasn't the right woman but someone else with the same name. The nanny state has decided that it's up to the poor mother of the child to prove to them that she isn't the one with the record. Meanwhile, who's serving the cupcakes? Given the bizarre Alice in Wonderland notions that seem to be so rampant in England, I'm just waiting. I'm quite sure that if it takes too long for the poor gal to prove that she's innnocent of anything, they will then get her for child abuse because the kids don't have cupcakes. Sheesh. And I thought smoking bans were bad. (There was ALSO a story from England where a gent called the police to get them to stop a bunch of teenagers throwing rocks at his house and breaking the windows. By the time the police arrived, some two hours later, the guy was in his yard waving a piece of wood at the kids - naturally, he was arrested. Kindly remember he hadn't touched them - but by God, he was threatening them. And we can't have that.)

I just had a thought. If they are going to keep all these mothers from acting like mothers to their children without having checked their backgrounds for criminal activity, wouldn't it be a great deal more efficient to have them checked for criminal activity before they're allowed to engage in sexual activity? No sexual activity = no babies, and then nobody would have to worry about it. Makes sense to me - but making sense doesn't seem to have anything to do with it.

I leave you with a lovely old Quaker saying - "Everyone's queer but thee and me, and sometimes I wonder about thee."

Love, Wendy


SaintTigerlily said...

As dorky as this sounds, I recently read in Oprah magazine Val Kilmers idea for making the world a better place. I know, I know, please forgive me,...but it is good! He pointed out that you can't be a lawyer without going to law school and you have to do well in math to be an accountant so why is it that we don't teach love, affection, friendship? And wouldn't it be kind of a cool idea to honor these skills (and for some they are skills, for some they are forgotten ones) just as much as multiplication or spelling. Yes I know - it is a little touchy feely, a little nanny state, a little hippy-dippy....but I like it. Did I spell hippy-dippy right? I need to take a nap.

Sarah Booz said...

I think I've given up on lawmakers. Why the hell would someone need a criminal background check to make cupcakes?

I just don't understand.