It’s Spirit Week at the middle school and our boys have been participating whole-heartedly, which is just one of the many differences between my children’s educational experiences and mine. I never learned to embrace school, or extracurricular activities, or sports, or band, or homework, or clubs, or girls.
Apart from a few good friends, my K-12 education consisted of navigating from one class to another, one year to another, while calling as little attention to myself as possible. Just a few steps shy of pathologically uptight, I avoided anything I saw as a potential threat or danger, which meant the last time I used a school bathroom was that day in fifth grade when a sixth grader popped open the door to my stall and stood there laughing. Why was it funny? I have no idea, but I never stepped foot in another school bathroom again. Perhaps the only thing of real lasting value I learned from school was how to hold it until I got home.
Needless to say, I didn’t go to many (okay, any) parties, I didn’t join any clubs, and I didn’t participate in Spirit Week, if we even had them back then. Dressing in school colors might be too conspicuous. What if the green I wore wasn’t the correct shade of green? And Pajama Day? Not likely. I was one of those kids who inhaled half a can of Aqua Net to make sure each and every hair conformed to the code of the mushroom helmet. I might not have had any style, but my lack of style – from my dad jeans, to my tucked-in shirt, to my old man sneakers – was immaculately represented every day. There was no way I was going to spoil it by wearing plaid pajamas to school.
The great thing about time passing is how effectively it can mellow you. Somewhere between 18 and 25, I began to allow many of my more diagnosable inhibitions to fall away. The result was wonderfully freeing. If one of my coworkers were to announce tomorrow is dress like a baby day, I’d be the first to run out and buy adult diapers and a giant baby rattle. Pajama Day? Please. These days you’d be lucky if I didn’t overdo it and wear women’s lingerie.
And in the interests of overdoing it, there are several new Spirit Week themes I would like to recommend that I believe would prove beneficial to the young people of today. After all, kids can wear school colors any old day, and pajamas would be a step up from most of the clothes kids choose to wear. My Spirit Week themes would forego such silliness in an effort to teach adolescents practical life lessons, such as the benefits of cleanliness and proper hygiene.
- Monday: Dress Like You Brushed Your Teeth Without Being Reminded Day
- Tuesday: Take Your Gritty Shoes Off Before Entering the House Day
- Wednesday: Wash Your Hair Properly (Like, With Shampoo) Day
- Thursday: Deodorant Is Your Friend Day
- Friday: Your Bedroom Really Shouldn’t Smell That Way Day
Or how about the hazards of chemical dependency?
- Monday: Dress Like Snoop Dog and/or Rush Limbaugh Day
- Tuesday: Bring Your Parents’ Secret Stash to School Day
- Wednesday: Dress Like Your Favorite Incarcerated Former Politician Day
- Thursday: Dress Like Your Favorite Overdosed Celebrity Day
- Friday: Dress Like the Kid Who Sells Weed In the School Bathroom But Hasn’t Been Busted Yet Day
Or even general responsibility?
- Monday: Dress Like You Own a Mirror Day
- Tuesday: Don’t Back Out of the Driveway at 50 MPH Day
- Wednesday: Dress Like You Own More Than Just Your Favorite Shirt Day
- Thursday: If Your Homework Says “Show Your Work” Then Show Your Work Day
- Friday: Dress Like You’re Not an Under-Aged Stripper Day
The possibilities are endless, and certainly more educational and entertaining than silly old Pajama Day.
Copyright 2015 Mark Feggeler