I recently spent a day in the front office of our school completing a project to assist in class choices. Because most people do not find that sort of thing entertaining, I’m going to bypass the details of this project and merely discuss a thought or two I had while being present in the office.
I was reminded about all that goes on in a school office and about the journey from morning announcements to turning the lights off. The world of the office staff seemed like a whirlwind to me. The world of the administration constituted on a paradigm that far exceeded my endurance and ability to poetically replicate the same sentences over and over again. And over and over…and over again.
I was amazed at the multiple binders set in place to record cell phone violations as well as the small index card containers that housed records of dress code violations. The world of breaking frivolous rules is foreign to me. I’ve always thought if I’m going to break a rule, I’m going to break one of the big ones. The hassle with getting in trouble wasn’t worth having my cell phone out or something as minuscule as violating dress code. Because of this, I didn’t spend too much time in the office as a student. I joke that I’ve spent more time in the office clocking in in the morning than I ever did as a student. I think the only time I went into the principal’s office was to give our principal a Senior Class Sweatshirt.
In what little time I had to myself during this day, I couldn’t help but think about all the random things that were banned during my tenure as a student. Lord knows we fought to amend the tyranny of the principal corps. How dare they tell us we could no longer wear athletic shorts to school! Don’t they know we all play soccer…or at least know someone who used to!
So, without further ado, here’s an exhausting yet un-exhausted list of sundry items eternally banned from our innocent school days:
- Vending Machines: Thanks to our commander-in-chief’s wife, these don’t work during lunch hours. I remember having a snack machine in our ninth grade school and knowing how great you felt if you happened to have $.65 to get that bag of Cheetos. Heck, I remember begging my mom for a quarter so I could get a gumball that would roll down the looptie-dooptie ramp in 3rd grade. Guess those joys belong to a forgotten era (an era of content obesity).
- Gum: They say this isn’t debatable, but I want to debate it. I’m not sure which is worse, morning coffee breath or sticking your hand in someone’s ABC gum after they stuck it under a desk. Ok, maybe that’s not debatable, but there has to be a middle ground. I remember the older I got, the less certain teachers cared if we were chewing gum or not. Sorta wasn’t fair when they were the ones chewing it in the first place.
- Sticky Slappers: These things were wonderful…as long as you were the one on the attacking end. Nothing was worse than having your spelling worksheet snatched away by a (most likely) lint covered sticky slapper wielded by that annoying kid you always ended up with in group work. They weren’t cool at the little skating rink where everyone got them for a dollar, and they weren’t cool when Howard smacked you in the face with it two days later. And what all was in that kid’s pocket? It always ended up coating that stupid slapper. You know what? I’ve changed my mind. Well done, principal. Those sticky slapper things suck in the first place.
- Slap Bracelets: Violent jewelry. I was down with the violent part. But I never understood why anyone wanted a half-zebra-half-leopard-half-neon green bracelet to begin with. Admission time: Any dude who ever wore these only did so in order to get that girl with the side ponytail to pay attention to him. If I can’t dazzle you with my charm and obvious good looks, I’ll imprison you with a plastic weapon covered in cheap, bacteria-filled nylon until you’re either tired of putting up the fight or you end up moving and changing school districts. In the words of Tom Petty, I won’t back down.
- Laser Pointers: The only other way for me to assert my dominance in the charm—see “nuisance”—department is to shine a red beam into the back of your retina. Sure, I might have a business meeting around the bend where I’ll need not only my fancy keychain laser pointer, but all those adjustable end caps that change the design on the wall. It is more than just a necessity. Then again, I might not. What’s it matter to you. All you need to be concerned with is whether or not that red dot on your crotch is coming from a prepubescent teen from across the room or a sniper perched on the rooftop across the street. Hope you guess correctly.
- Pogs: For those born after 1989, these circular cardboard creations might be unknown to you. These were basically the gateway drug for children who would eventually discover their splendid addiction to gambling. Shaped like poker chips, these discs were only cool if they were played “for keeps.” If your slammer couldn’t smash the whole stack and you got stuck with the Teletubbie Pog, that’s your problem. Sucks to suck.
- Yomega Fireball: I can remember it like it was yesterday. My beautiful blond bowl cut glistening in the sheen of the lights in the gym where we avoided playing basketball and instead played with our yo-yos. Show me “walk the dog” and I’ll show you “The Eiffel Tower.” Let’s battle for how long we can make our Fireballs sleep. If your Fireball was taken up during homeroom, no worries. I got an extra. If you’d rather battle it out with our Yomega Brains, I’m game, homeslice. Not like we have any girls who actually talk to us to get in our way of hours of Yo-Yo fun.
- Southpark T-Shirts: Oh My God! They Killed Kenny! I remember wanting a Southpark shirt, but my mom wouldn’t let me have one. Come on, lady! Don’t you know that all the 11-year-olds are wearing them? And by all the 11-year-olds I clearly mean the kids who have older siblings and they stole the shirt from them. I mean, no I never actually watched the show, but I know just enough lines to pretend like I know what I’m talking about and not come across as a poser. I sometimes think to myself, when things get tough, “What would Brian Boitano do if he were here right now…”
- Umbro Shorts: There are moments in a child’s life when he (or she) is confronted with the bitter realities of growing up. That cute little, white puss filled bump on your nose is not as big as you imagine. But yes, it is noticeable. The Umbra Shorts Epidemic of 1995 ranks right up there with the Pimple Pandemic of 1997. Why in the world can I not wear my Umbros to school? I begged my mom to buy me every pair of black, blue, red, and neon green pair I found on sale during our trip to Destin. Those are my soccer shorts, and, by God, I might have to play soccer one day to save the world. How in Frank’s name am I supposed to do that in what my mom calls “Bermuda Shorts”? Dress code’s got no chill. Never mind the fact that EVERYONE could see straight up every pair of Umbros ever worn. What’s the big deal. (I get it now. I really do. Took me, what, 20 years?)
- JNCOs: I wanted these so bad. But, as you might have guessed, the parental units shot this request down quickly. Who wouldn’t want a pair of jeans that could house a litter of puppies in each leg? Sure, I could hide a gun or fifty on my person in these pants, but they’re so cool! Some even had that little patch of that little punk kid on it and pockets that touch the floor. I like pockets. The more the pocket, the better, I always say. (Good job, ‘rents. Thanks for saving me from JNCOs).
- Wrestling T-Shirts: So you’re telling me that an 11-year-old isn’t supposed to wear a T-shirt with the arms crossing over his crotch? I mean I get that the symbol offends you, but why? Maybe you have something against vacuum cleaners. I like a clean house, thank you. If I can’t wear my DX shirt, then I’ll wear my nWo shirt and try to piledrive my best friend in 7th grade social studies. I mean, it’s not like we’re actually trying to learn in here. Oh, we are? My bad.
- Slides: Nothing wrong with a little lazy dressing of the feet. Sure, these double as house shoes, but I wear socks with them. These are the best things ever created. I have them with me at all times. I wear them when I get done playing football (or sitting the bench). I wear them when I go to the public pool (always warm water, the public pool). I wear them when my dad says to go pooper-scooper the backyard (I see the dogs got into mom’s meatloaf yesterday). Why can’t you just leave me be? They go great with my pajama pants. Aren’t pajama pants the best? You only have to wash them once a month, and that’s only when you accidentally spill Mountain Dew on them while you’re watching Southpark.
- Tights: The foot-bone’s connected to the leg-bone. The leg-bone’s connected to hip-bone. And all of this is covered by a thin layer of lycra. I do not see the problem with this. Don’t you want to know what I would look like if I wore no pants and my legs were solid black? Oh, and don’t get the wrong impression. I’m a modest girl. Lady-like to the fullest. Stop looking at me like that.
- Ripped Jeans: Listen, my overpriced Holister jeans were cool, but the newest pair that came out during winter looks like I’ve been in a fight with a honey badger. And, mom, they’re only, like, fifteen bucks more. The holes are strategically placed so that when I can’t wear my tights because they’re in the laundry OR because I accidentally ripped them, I can wear these jeans and get the same attention. Why are you still looking at me like that? Whatev, fool. Honey badger don’t care, and neither do I.
- Cell Phones: What? I’m listening. Totally heard you. Hang on. Gotta text Ronda back. What? Yes. What? Hang on Ronda got in a fight with her mom about her boyfriend. No, got in a fight with her boyfriend about her mom. Or her boyfriend got in a fight with her mom. Or she got in a fight with her boyfriend’s mom. Hang on. Ok, her status says she’s studying but her Story is like 145 seconds long and it’s just her chilling in front of a mirror. Why the fruit is she texting me about her boyfriend’s mom? Ok, what were you saying? I’m listening.
Lord save us all.