SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

Another Passing Grade



August 27, 2015
Thursday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
Well, despite all our best parental attempts to prevent all that “lurning” and “edjification,” Liam started high school this week.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

I can't figure it out, I'm sure that it was just yesterday when we were chasing him down the aisles at Walmart and triggering Adam Alerts when he was hiding under the clothing racks.

Yeah, yeah this horrific "passing of time" thing happens to all parents.

But we are not just any parents.

We are late model Baby Boomers. This sort of thing does not happen to us. Our kids don't grow up because, well frankly, we haven't grown up.

Which reminds me, a few years ago when my much-much-much older siblings - they are early model baby boomers and therefore senile - were ragging on me about "growing up," my Mom piped up and said "why should he grow up, I haven't grown up yet!"

Now, that's why she was part of "The Greatest Generation." Thanks Mom, love ya!

But I digress.

We suddenly seem to have this Pre-Adult wandering around the house, acting tired/bored all the time and reacting with great irritation every time we remind him we are his parents.

For example, when I suggested we take his picture in front of the Ketchikan High School sign the first class day - like we used to do every year at his elementary school - he reacted with the same shock and indignation you see on candidates faces at presidential debates when the other person is speaking.

You would have thought I had three heads for the look of horror on his face. Clearly first day pictures is not something we do anymore.

I must have missed that in the "Now We Are in High School" manual.

When I told him it would be "cute" he responded sharply that it would not be cute and that - henceforth - I was not to use the word or even think the word "cute" for the next four years.


Who elected him Crabbycakes in Chief?

Anyway, since the high school is just far enough away to not walk and not far enough to bus - not that he would allow us to bus him anyway, busing to high school is apparently so "uncool" as to be one of the Dante's Circles of Adolescent Hell - that means I get the "pleasure" of driving him to school when the local weather is inclement or every day of the year in these here parts.

When he was in elementary school, that was always a pleasant experience, full of chatter and songs and general merriment over the Third Avenue Bypass.

Not anymore.

Driving to school - until of course he gets his own car - will now be a silent chore in which automaton Dad will point the car in the direction of the school and will engage in no body gurgle, no muscle twitch or do anything to draw attention to himself. Especially if we carpooling it with one or more Pre Adults.

So the first day the silence was so loud, I started to hum.

"Stop that."

Then I absently drummed my fingers on the steering wheel.

"Stop that."

Then I fiddled with the air conditioner/heater.

"Stop that."

Actually, he didn't really say "stop that."

No high school student would dare lower his “coolitude” by actually speaking in public to a parental unit.

He sighed and rolled his eyes and sighed again.

I can take a hint. Sort of.

It's just really hard to be totally still and quiet, especially when you are trying to be. We are naturally fidgety creatures and the hardest thing for us to do is.....well, nothing.

Then again, maybe that's me early in the morning after my wakeup jolt of caffeine and sugar.

I don't know about you, but in order to get out of bed in the morning (Morning, BTW, is definitely one of Dante's Circles of Grown Up Hell) I need to have an automated external defibrillator strapped to my chest pumping about 6 million jolts of sugar and caffeine into my system just to get my feet onto the floor.

Which reminds me. Did you know that most heart attacks are suffered in the morning? Seriously, the work and the school days should start at noon. The first Presidential candidate who proposes that gets my vote. Early and often.

But I digress again.

Unfortunately, the older our darling "educational units" get the earlier school starts. That makes a lot of sense. Particularly since the only thing that all scientists seem to agree upon is that the adolescent brain doesn't "wake up" until 10 or 11 in the morning, meaning all those 7 and 8 and 9 am classes are a complete waste of time.

And then they get out of school around three which gives them several hours to get up to no good before we all get off work. In Japan kids stay in school until 6 pm. That is not a bad thing.

My Freshman year at Kayhi (back so long ago, we measured class periods in cubits) I had PE first period. Which meant that I had to get up, take a shower, slog up the hill in the rain, run laps for an hour, take another shower and then doze from 9 pm to noon. And you wonder why I got Minus 300 on my standardized test scores.

Actually, that was so long ago, we didn't have standardized test scores. We just took our regular tests and passed or failed and no one much cared how we did compared to those kids in Iowa. Go figure.

Fortunately, Liam does not yet have classes in what they euphemistically call "zero hour."

"Zero hour" is apparently the class period that time forgot. As if calling it "zero hour" somehow implies it's not really part of the day, so we can't rise up with pitch folks and tar and feather the School Board for starting high school at 7 FREAKING AM IN THE FREAKING MORNING!!!!

For goodness sake, people that's EARLY, and clearly not in the physically awake wheelhouse (see above) of adolescents. Even Sir Elton John says that "zero hour (is) 9 am."

But here, it is 7 am. Which in the good old days, was just when some of us used to come in for the night. Or so we like to remember it. Those halcyon days when a good party still seemed like fun, before we got older and learned that a good nap trumps everything.

And maybe that is all we can hope for now, as our kids transit into Pre-Adulthood; that some day, they will transit into Adulthood and - like us - rue all that nap time we wasted because we didn’t want to fall asleep in kindergarten.

So another school year has started.

Not sure what is worse, the fact that Liam is in high school or that fact that he seems to be attempting to grow some sort of moustache.

On the other hand, we measured each other’s height the other day - another school starting tradition that he seems pretty keen on continuing - and I am still 1/8 of inch taller than him!

And, no, last I checked, I have not grown up.


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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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