I have two kids in middle school right now. Or junior high. I’m pretty sure I went to junior high but they go to middle school. “Junior high” is a pretty screwy term if you think about it because how high could it be if it’s junior? Nah. Be realistic. Middle school. And there is so much that they have to deal with that I just don’t and I am so glad. Sure, I have to worry about middle age and a mortgage and all that but I still think I have it a lot better than they do. I try to tell my kids that things will get easier. Or at least differenter.
THINGS THAT DON’T CARRY OVER FROM MIDDLE SCHOOL TO THE REST OF LIFE
- Credulity – I believed so many of the bizarre and stupid things some of my teachers told me back then. They were teachers, after all. When you grow up, you realize that everyone is only PRETENDING to know what they’re talking about. Some are good at it, some suck real bad.
- Jerk Proximity– In middle school, you will need to sit with jerks. Classroom, buses, lunch, there will be jerks all over. After you grow up, you can avoid jerks, mostly. And if you’re a jerk, people will avoid you and then you’ll get some peace.
- Math – I know, I know, they say math is all around you. Well, if it’s all around me, it’s hiding quite expertly. And I’m not looking for it.
- Driver’s Ed – Nearly everyone you see on the road learned to drive when they were teenagers and haven’t really made much of an effort to improve since. Good luck!
- School Spirit – Am I the only one who felt like the school was trying to push “spirit” on me as a kind of quasi-nationalism? Well, whether I am or not, middle-schoolers can look forward to a world where pep rallies are wholly optional and mercifully scarce.
- Lockers – Oh they come up. But not as much. And they’re easier. You don’t get to put pictures of your favorite bands on them in adulthood, though.
- Gross Lunch – Turns out lunch doesn’t have to be totally gross. Lunch can be completely great. You can still opt for a gross lunch. Don’t.
- Athletics-based social standing – I have no idea who runs the fastest where I work. It never comes up. It’s great.
- Health class – Sure, there are constant health lessons to be learned but you don’t have to learn them while surrounded by peers and listening to an uncomfortable gym teacher explain things.
- Homework – Yeah, you’ll be done. It will end. You’ll come home and just do whatever you want. You will have to deal with the nagging feeling that you should be doing something else but that feeling sometimes passes.
Of course, plenty of other things DO carry over: Tests, grades, awkwardness, physical changes, waking up earlier than you want to, the possibility of trouble, the importance of getting organized, the actual people you go to school with (people age, it turns out), buses, and the over-importance of sports in society. But honestly, for real, no more homework. It’s fantastic.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go home and work on scripts for upcoming shows until late into the night. Scripts that don’t involve math.
Friends of Wits Doing Stuff
Mary Lynn Rajskub (@MaryLynnRajskub) is doing stand-up shows across the U.S. this spring/summer. (Jack Bauer will have to say “Dammit” to somebody else for the time being.) Don’t miss Mary Lynn and musical guest Ryan Bingham on the May 1 Wits at the Fitz.
Neko Case (@NekoCase) recently hosted a screening of the beloved cult classic film Repo Man with the movie’s executive producer, Michael Nesmith. (Yes, the one from The Monkees.) If you missed that, you can still catch her and Paul Scheer (@paulscheer) at our April 24 show.
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