I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
August 10, 2015
Somewhere in the Bible, there’s a verse (Ezrakiah 26:10, if you must know) that talks about the fall of man:
And lo! Adam didst bite into the serpent’s apple and a curse felleth upon him and upon all generations that he begatted. From thence onward, mankind wath banished from ye olde Garden of Eden. Women experiencedeth pain in childbirth and children were issued school supply lists that causedeth their parents much wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
What? You’ve never heard of that verse? I’m pretty sure it’s there, y’all. Because Satan must have had something to do with this:
There’s nothing that says Summer’s over, bitches quite like the annual school supply list. I think of it as a scavenger hunt where the setting is a crowded superstore and the ‘prizes’ are long lines and a hefty charge on your debit card.
Between our four kids, I’ve been hunting down school supplies for fourteen years now, and one thing I know for sure is that these lists are slowly but surely getting worse—at least in my district.
For one thing, the sheer numbers of what’s required have skyrocketed. Three spiral notebooks have morphed into six (for a third grader?!), one box of crayons has turned into three, and three glue sticks have become twelve. Frankly, I’m starting to wonder if these teachers are reselling some of this stuff on the school supply black market. (Heh, heh, just kidding, teachers. You know I love you. But, uh, if you can tell me where I might find this school supply black market? CALL ME.)
What’s worse, somewhere along the way, it became acceptable practice for schools to specify the brand of each item that we’re to purchase. Yes, I realize that Elmer’s glue sticks might work a little better than the off-brand ones that cost half as much, but in the name of bargain-hunting, I’m going to share a secret with all of you: I’m actually not framing my son’s third grade worksheets and hanging them on our walls after you send them home. I hate to break it to you, but every single one of those cut-and-paste worksheets goes straight into the trashcan. That said, the cheapo glue will do just fine, thankyouverymuch.
But what causes me the biggest headache year after year is the item that should be the simplest one on the list: The pencils. The freaking pencils. Heaven forbid I send my kid to school with plain old yellow number two pencils. Oh no- That simply won’t do! He’s got to have BLACK WARRIOR PENCILS. 48 Black Warrior Pencils. 48 SHARPENED Black Warrior Pencils. Does it matter to our list-makers that only a handful of stores in Nashville even carry Black Warrior Pencils? Or that they cost three times as much as the other pencils? Or that most families don’t keep an electric pencil sharpener at home, and so asking parents to hand-sharpen 48 PENCILS is kind of…. crazy?
I guess I should just be grateful that our district hasn’t discovered Reese Witherspoon’s $14 pencils yet– although I fear that it’s only a matter of time. She does live here in Nashville, after all.
I realize things aren’t going to get better any time soon- The time is quickly approaching when ‘Laptop Computer’ is going to be at the top of the list, and that will certainly make my 48 pencils!!!!1!11!! hysteria seem pretty weak.
Still, it’s never too late to make a statement. One of these days, I’m going to send my kid to school the first day with a slate and a piece of chalk, just to see what happens.
Yeah. That’ll teach ’em.