The Worst Day of the Year

Aug 12, 2008 | Family

I will warn you now. This particular posting is not for children …

There. That got your attention, didn’t it? Well, here goes …

Remember the Fifth Decision, Today I Will Choose To Be Happy? I must confess that “today” … I am not! Here on the gulf coast, it is the first day of school. School? In the middle of August? Holy cow! The kids weren’t even released (notice my little “prison” metaphor?) until June!

It is about 8:30 AM. I just got back into my office. Polly and I both took the boys to school this morning. She was a bit teary as the boys left the car. Me? I maintained an “Oh, this is going to be fun” attitude that I didn’t really embrace. The boys seemed to be fine. Me? I was not and am still not.

Adam has started kindergarten. Kindergarten—the beginning of the end—life’s true freedom never to be experienced again. Know this, kindergartners … in the future, joy will only be tasted in stingy bites of what adults now deem “your summer”. Say the word with me, friends … Kindergarten. Now, try it with a German accent. Kindergarten! It sounds ominously military, doesn’t it—a lot like Bertesgarten, Hitler’s private retreat during WWII.

Austin is beginning the third grade. I don’t even know what to say about the turd grade. And yes, I meant to spell it that way. I went to Heard Elementary for my third grade year. And yes, even then, I was aware that “Heard” rhymed with “turd”.

But I was lucky in the third grade. Miss Wheeler was my teacher and she was beautiful. Actually, I seem to remember being in love with her at the time, but surely that couldn’t have been the case. After all, I am certain that I hated school then as much as I do now.

I do remember being terrified of the other third grade teacher, Mrs. Trotter. She was short and wide, with wispy red hair that rose from her flat forehead like the very blazes of hell. Trotter the Troll, we called her, and in the second grade, we often beseeched God in Heaven above to reach down his mighty hand and place us in Miss Wheeler’s class for the following year. Once, I even prayed that at the dinner table. With my head bowed, I earnestly intoned, “Save us, oh Lord, from Trotter the Troll.” My mother was not amused, but my dad actually squirted iced tea from his nose.

Now, all these years later, school has again ruined my life. My best buddies are now locked up, chained to a desk, and forced to learn about obscure things that are less important than fishing, football, and how to make sounds with a hand and an armpit. Yes, they are in school. Ugh. Which means that I must sit here at my desk and work.

But only until 2:45.


Whoops … sorry. That was not “the end”. Polly just breezed into my office and read (over my shoulder) what I have written for this post. Before leaving, she commented, “I can see now how you are structuring these blogs. You do a serious one, followed by a less serious one, occasionally adding a post of limited value—something you just wanted to get off your chest.” Then she walked out with a smirk on her face. It must be wonderful to be blessed with the gift of discernment.

Let me close with a quote that could not be more apropos to the subject at hand. This, by the 19th century philosopher, Henry David Thoreau, who said, “Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.”

Your friend,



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