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Classes Are in Session (at Last!)

September 08, 2002|STEVE SMITH

It is obvious to any parent that George Gershwin could not possibly have had kids in tow when he penned the lyrics "Summertime, and the livin' is easy."

All over Orange County, children are returning to school, and parents couldn't be happier. The requisite back-to-school shopping trips are a scene straight out of the television commercial that shows two kids with long faces walking down an aisle of an office supply chain. Just ahead of them is Dad, grinning from ear-to-ear as he tosses pencils, erasers and three-ring binders into a cart. In the background we hear the Christmas lyrics "It's the most wonderful time of the year."

Going back to school may be a nightmare for kids, but it's a dream come true for most parents. Instead of spending lunch hours running red lights to pick up the kids from Grandma's house and dropping them off at the swimming pool for lessons, parents are rediscovering the joy of an uninterrupted meal.

Dogs are once again able to retrieve the paper in the morning without having to wrestle with bulky back-to-school ads that added 125 pounds to each edition. And over the past few days, moms and dads have taken back living rooms that had been occupied for three months by a nonstop slumber party.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday September 29, 2002 Orange County Edition California Part B Page 19 Editorial Pages Desk 0 inches; 34 words Type of Material: Correction
A Sept. 8 Orange County Commentary by Steve Smith incorrectly reported that George Gershwin wrote the lyrics to "Summertime." The authors were Dorothy Heyward, Du Bose Heyward and Ira Gershwin.

And the money! What in the world will parents do with all that extra cash now that their summer camp expenses are gone? A large chunk of that money will go toward school supplies and clothes. Our recent trip to a drugstore to buy the list of "essentials" suggested by our school district for our two kids cost $100.

The following day we escaped the heat by going to the mall to shop for back-to-school clothes. Big mistake. Any parent who has shopped for clothes for a girl roughly the age of our 12-year-old daughter knows that both the clothing manufacturers and clothing store buyers have a serious problem with authority figures.

There is no other way to explain the endless supply of clothes that would defy any dress code in the land. Shirts are too high, pants are too low, and shoes are so tall that Shaquille O'Neal would have to stand on tiptoe to see girls eye-to-eye.

Boys' jeans are so baggy they'd make the Pillsbury Doughboy look like he's wearing the slim-fit style.

So for all the parents who stuck it out this summer, who made it through all of the shuttling, summer camps and cries of "I'm bored!," here is a list of suggestions for post-summer survival:

1) Use your lunch hour to eat something in a stationary location. Parents will have to get used to eating with two hands in an actual room, not the front seat of their car or minivan. To ease the shock to the central nervous system, it is suggested that a friend or co-worker shake your chair every 60 seconds during your lunch for the next two weeks to simulate driving conditions.

2) Reward yourself daily by listening to a radio station with a mature announcer and not the sound of the latest boy band.

3) Don't get too used to your new freedom--soccer season is just about to start.


Steve Smith is a freelance writer in Costa Mesa.

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