Wednesday, June 09, 2010
John Fogerty 'Centerfield'
Jamie surprised me this morning. She told me that her friend was attending her son’s graduation today.
“I didn’t know that he was a senior,” I said. The last time I saw him, he looked like a fifth-grader. And as it turns out, he is until this afternoon when he gets a fifth grade diploma or a Chucky Cheese discount flier.
“He’s graduating elementary and going middle school next year,” Jamie explained.
Of course, I think that it’s stupid.
She continued, “It’s a milestone in his little life.”
It seems like every year a kid is graduating from something. It could be the second grade, the Home Depot project squad, or a move up to solid food. What’s the frakkin’ deal?
Do kids really need all that unnecessary attention?
Jamie said, “Moving up to middle school is a big deal.”
When they called it junior high, it was a big deal. It sounded like you were getting older and more responsible. The girls were getting rounder and bumpy in places that I never really noticed before. And I liked it.
Junior high sounded scary. Just the words “junior high” made me feel like I was walking into a jungle where a battle was about to break out on that first day.
Going to junior high was a rite of passage. For me, it was a place filled with different classrooms, loud ringing bells, stairs, and Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirts. And when I rode the bus, there were students from the nearby high school that was a football throw away. They were older, sometimes a bit more dangerous than my group of friends, and the girls were generally more voluptuous.
I was coming into junior high just as the hazing was coming to a halt. And if you’ve ever seen the film Dazed And Confused, then you know what I’m talking about. I experienced none of that, but I did hear some stories about overzealous paddling.
Junior high was a whole new world. It was a big deal.
So why have they changed the name? Why do they call it middle school now?
I don’t like it personally. Calling it “middle school” makes it sound like some kind of half-way house filled with ne’er-do-wells and kids that still drink juice out of boxes. It sounds like a place with no real direction… It’s in the middle… It’s not going anywhere.
If you call it a junior high school, then you know you’re going to move up. One day you’ll make it to high school and eventually become a senior… Lord over all. It sounds like you’re going places instead of sitting around in a classroom eating paste with Wildman Corey Casey.
Junior high is about dropping pencils to get a better look at your developing female friends.
Middle school sounds like you need to put on your mittens before going out to the school bus.
Junior high is about dodging that guy that likes to pop his mother’s prescription medication.
Middle school sounds like chicken nuggets served all day with copious amounts of chocolate milk.
Junior high is about skipping a class or two.
Middle school sounds like story time with Mr. Cotton and his hand puppets of make believe.
Junior high is about learning how to undo bras.
Middle school sounds like a place I don’t want to be. Period. It sounds like the play place at the fast food joint that you have outgrown. It even sounds like a mental institution to me… A reimagining of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
I just don’t like it. Can we please go back to calling them junior high schools?