With the last horse trailer pulling out of Sikeston, that can mean only one thing: It's school time again.
For me it is a great time of year. It signifies football season is right around the corner, kids are off the street and invariably on my way to work I will get stuck behind a school bus that stops at every intersection. But it also brings me back to my first days of school.
I remember lacing up my red and black Air Jordan's, throwing my backpack over my shoulder, filled with a cool looking Trapper Keeper and beginning my five mile, uphill trek to school in the snow. (For some reason it used to snow in August).
Nowadays you can't even take a backpack to a lot of schools. Administrators think the students may smuggle drugs or weapons into the school inside the backpacks. Or maybe administrators are afraid the students may hurt their backs lugging the backpacks home every day filled with books. Either way, I would have loved that when I was in school. It is a lot harder to steal your "Tylenol" from your jean pockets than in your backpack that was stuck in your locker.
Oh, wait. Not only can you not have backpacks, they won't even let them use lockers. This is hard to believe. Where are they going to stuff the small kids on the first day of school? I'm surprised their hasn't been a lawsuit filed by some bully who feels he is getting his rights violated by not being able to show his dominance by stuffing some runt into a locker. The world just isn't the same.
Of course, I guess times are changing. Kids don't need backpacks and lockers to store their pens and pencils because they don't need them anymore. Now kids are fluent on computers by the age of 10. Heck, my 5-year-old nephew can work a computer better than my wife. Me, I took typing as a sophomore in high school only after being forced by a teacher. This crazy woman actually told me that someday I would need to know how to type more than I would need to know how to write with a pencil. Of course, it turned out to be one of the best classes I ever took. Do you know how many girls were in my typing class? Wow, I loved typing.
Kids today also have better technology when it comes to lunch. They have cool-looking lunch boxes made out of some cool material manufactured by NASA or something. I carried my lunch in a brown paper bag after my little incident with a lunch box. Apparently teachers used to frown on smacking someone upside the head with the old metal lunch boxes. I still haven't figured that one out.
Discipline is different today as well. When I was in school if you did something wrong they would calmly take you out into the hall, and bust your butt with a nice, thick paddle. Not that it ever happened to me mind you. Of course, the worst was the teacher who gripped the paddle with both hands and swung it like a baseball bat. Once again, not that it happened to me.
Now teachers can make a mean, upset face and look little Johnny Troublemaker in the eye and say: "If you don't stop that, I will have to tell you to stop again." Or maybe they will threaten to send them to in-school suspension. When I was in school, being sent to a room to do your work away from the other idiots in your class was considered a reward, not punishment.
Of course, as sure as things change, they stay the same. Social studies will still be the best sleep most students will ever have in their entire life, the best time to copy homework is in the morning five minutes before clas
s and 15 years after graduation you will only be in contact with maybe a half-dozen of your former classmates. Well, unless you're in jail. Then it might be more.