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A Few Words Before School Starts
by Mad Dog


School is important. One day youíll look back on it fondly as having been the best years of your life, though chances are that epiphany will occur during group therapy while youíre buzzed on Xanax. 

Itís easy to tell that itís back to school timeóeverythingís shorter. The days are shorter, parentsí tempers are shorter, and the line at the movie theater to see yet another 3-D animated sequel is so short you can sit in any seat you want and have plenty of room to stash that Barrel-O-Popcorn, 55-gallon drum of Coke, and platoon-size box of Milk Duds that just set you back $24.95.

   This means itís time to sit down and have a talk with the kids about the importance of an education, be they your kids, your siblingís, or the ones that live next door who spent most of the summer tied up and gagged in your tool shed so you could have some peace and quiet.

   Kids, you see, need guidance. They need advice. Actually they need it like a hole in the head, but since theyíre smaller than we are, theyíre going to get it. After all, we heard it, and since we were taught that itís better to give than to receive, weíre going to give it to them whether they like it or not. And thereís little question which category it falls into.

   In case you donít feel comfortable having this discussion, or canít find a slot between Jon Minus Kate Plus 8, Dancing With Whatever Stars We Can Find Who Havenít Danced Yet, and Megan Wants a Millionaire Not Be Murdered By One to do it, cut out the rest of this column and hand it to your target kid. After they stop looking at you with a blank stare because they havenít seen words on anything but a screen all summer, theyíll ask you to text it to their cell phone. Whatever you do, donít ask them how thatís done. Youíre supposed to be the one in charge here. Itís bad enough they have to reset the clock on the microwave every time the power goes out, donít remind them that you canít remember which button turns on the computer.



Parents donít want to hear that your goal in life is to be a Cheetos taste tester, the winner of next yearís Nathanís hot dog eating contest, or a professional Guitar Hero player, so lie if you have to.  
OKAY KIDS, START PRETENDING TO READ HERE!

   School is important. One day youíll look back on it fondly as having been the best years of your life, though chances are that epiphany will occur during group therapy while youíre buzzed on Xanax. Even though the thought will pass quickly, you should make the most of these years anyway.

   Start off by getting plenty of sleep and eating a good breakfast. After all, unless youíre taking advanced chemistry you wonít be able to identify what theyíre serving in the cafeteria for lunch so your Cheerios might have to last you until dinner.

   Study hard so you can stay in school. Remember, the alternative is working, and trust me, thatís no fun. If you do well in school you can go to college, then graduate school, then more graduate school, postponing your having to get a job for a long, long time.

   Whatever you do, donít let yourself be channeled into a career just because your parents think itís a good idea. Do whatís right for you. Parents naturally steer their kids towards careers like law, medicine, and investment banking. Thatís because they like the idea of getting free legal advice, free medical care, and someone to blame when they have to spend their Golden Years asking, ďWould you like paper or plastic?Ē And who can blame them? They donít want to hear that your goal in life is to be a Cheetos taste tester, the winner of next yearís Nathanís hot dog eating contest, or a professional Guitar Hero player, so lie if you have to. Remember, itís for their own good. And yours.



Most Americans say sexual satisfaction is more important than job satisfaction. Thus, you might want to sit down and think about which is more important to you so you know where to focus your energies.

   So what are some good career choices? Forget the perennial childhood favorites. Astronauts have to drink recycled pee, ballerinas tend towards eating disorders and mutilated feet, and while cowboys are okay in the country, theyíre not in the city where walking around wearing leather chaps while carrying rope attracts boyfriends instead of cows. And humor writers, well, trust me, you donít want them doing that.

   You should also forget wanting to be President. Sure it looks good on your resume. And yes, George Bush proved that indeed anyone can become President. But the competitionís tough, the job market is very limited, and aging 20 years in four months really isnít as glamorous as you think. Better to aim to be a governor. Not only are there 50 times as many job opportunities, but you can have a fling with a Playboy bunny, keep a paramour in Argentina, and have a gay affair and still keep your job. Okay, maybe not the gay part, but that could change by the time youíre old enough for the job.

   Be careful though. Remember that your career isnít the most important thing in life. According to a survey by Columbia University and the National Institutes of Health, most Americans say sexual satisfaction is more important than job satisfaction. Thus, you might want to sit down and think about which is more important to you so you know where to focus your energies.

   Either way, remember that practice makes perfect, doing your best is the goal, and homework is more fun if you decide sex is the most important thing. But whatever you do, donít tell your parents you heard this from me. I need to keep my job. After all, I canít dance, donít have eight kids, and look old enough as it is without becoming president.

   ©2009 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read them while waiting for the kids to get home from school so they can reset the time on your microwave.

 

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