Monday, July 30, 2012

Swiper, You Have the Right to Remain Silent

If you are a parent, chances are you have seen kid shows.  Even if you’re one of those militant parents who are staunchly opposed to letting kids watch TV, I’d be willing to be that it’s happened.  Most of the time I don’t really mind that a kid show is on.  Caillou, Lazy Town, Thomas, Super Why, Bob the Builder, The Wiggles, they all make frequent appearances at our house.  Yo Gabba Gabba is also a familiar sight. Since I am at work for most of the day I am not exposed to these shows.  My husband is, God help him.  He has learned how to glaze over and ignore them for the most part, though.  One day last week I was home during daylight hours and was subjected to Lazy Town, a kind of weird mix of puppets and human cast.  Now I don’t claim to know in any kind of detail these characters descriptions, but I do feel confident when I say that a puppet wearing high-waisted yellow shorts and what I perceive to be saddle oxfords whose name is Stingy, is probably bad news. This was about the time when I realized it is not good for my mental health to watch these shows.  Not because they’re kind of goofy, but because of how unrealistic to life they are.  Bear with me here.  I realize that a show where a ten year old girl with pink hair has a puppet for an uncle is not going to be terribly true to life.  I get that.  It’s not that characters that bothers me; it’s the outcome of the story. Basically you have a handful of lovable critters, puppet, animated, what have you, and then you have that one or two who is ultimately just a douchebag.  And it’s not usually the show’s villain, if there is one at all.  It’s one of the regular characters.  Maybe to illustrate that there are even good people who just happen to have deplorable personalities.  The show will revolve around this character doing something bad or wrong.   No one will know about it for a while, but then they’re found out.  They hang their cartoon heads in (mock?) shame and say they’re sorry.  The proverbial finger is shaken at them, they learned a lesson, and life is good again. Oh, God, no.  Just no. How many more episodes does it take for them to do something wrong again?  They didn’t learn a lesson!  That episode of Lazy Town aggravated me to no end.  So Stingy (like the name didn’t give anything away here) finds something that he knows belongs to that that French gymnast superhero guy Sportacus.  It’s part of his ability to know when someone needs help.  Knowing this but disregarding it, that little bastard keeps it and even alludes to the fact that he may never give it back.  He then mounts it on his car like a hood ornament after having driven it over Sportacus’ body which was acting like a bridge over a big pothole.  Seriously? Well, that little punk ends up needing help later but because he has the gadget that would tell Sportacus he needed help he was SOL.  Luckily the girl with the pink Britney Spears wig heard him yelling.  He gets saved, told what he did was bad, and is forgiven when he gives a half-ass apology.  You know he’s not sorry and that he’ll turn right around and wipe somebody else’s stuff the next chance he gets!!  What’s wrong with you people and/or puppets? Stingy committed some kind of crime, whether it’s theft by taking or petty larceny I just don’t know.  Please show some kind of consequences!  These shows tell us that if you do something wrong you should feel bad about it and apologize for it.  They don’t depict that there could be consequences. Other prime offenders are Rintoo on Kai-Lan, Muno on You Gabba Gabba, and Swiper on Dora the Explorer.  Nothing ever happens to these critters!  I am just incensed with it all. They even had a jail on the Andy Griffith show, even though the only ones they ever locked up were drunks. I can no longer bring myself to endure watching these shows.  At least I know that I teach my kids that sometimes saying sorry is just not enough. You have to pretend to feel bad, too.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

That Old Crayon Smell

It’s the second week of July and most people are still deep in the throes of summer and the entrenching heat that it has ushered in.  But I work for the board of education so we are in full new school year swing.  Teacher’s want new desks, new chairs.  Schools are ordering page after page of stuff.  Boxes out, boxes in.  Seventeen pallets of Smart Boards are coming in tomorrow.  One hundred boxes of student desks are en route as we speak.  To me, this is just work.  Nothing new.  It’s happened this time every year that I’ve been year.  I’m just glad no one has ordered new textbooks this year. This year, however, there is a slight difference in my outlook.  I have two kids starting school next month.  That means two out of three kids will be gone from the house all day.  More importantly, in my mind school equals school supplies.  The good kind.  Not stupid notebook paper and blue stick pens.  Ugh.  There’s no fun in that. I want to buy crayons and markers and colored pencils.  Pencil boxes and little scissors!  Glue sticks!  Oh, the wonder of it all!  When I was in school I always wanted to have a veritable buffet of artistic implements, though I didn’t always get them.  I can remember, though, going to Kindergarten with my standard Crayola crayons and being told that I needed the big kind.  You know, the ones that make it seem like you’re writing with a stubby kielbasa?  I guess it didn’t matter that I could already utilize a normal size crayon efficiently.  No, no, take out your green sausage links and draw some grass. I remember the first day of school when, on the way to your new class, you could stop at a table and buy a big paper grocery bag filled with all your supplies.  It was almost like getting a present.  There’s no telling what the pencils are going to look like!  It was one stop shopping, but I don’t remember how much those bags cost.  Even more interesting is that you can’t even find those brown shopping bags anymore.  So much for homemade book covers, too. So I was all excited about buying…well, crayons really.  Then I looked at the supply list and was hit with a bomb.  Our pre-k is state funded and supplies all necessary school stuff, completely rendering school shopping redundant.  Nooooo!  But…but…colored pencils!  Those big stupid, oddly shaped pink erasers!  All gone.  Man!  Stupid school. While the parent in me is relieved that I won’t have to spend what could have been an obscene amount of money on school supplies, the overgrown kid is ill at not getting to buy crayons.  Buying crayons just because isn’t the same.  It’s needing them that’s the fun part.  Knowing that there are numerous art projects that may already be planned and waiting, that’s what makes it fun.  It’s the adult equivalent of finding out that your new job requires the use of Angry Birds. So I guess school shopping will consist of haircuts, new shoes, maybe lunchboxes, and backpacks.  Connor has already informed me that he wants a purple Transformers backpack.  Uh…huh.  Which Transformer was the gay one?   Note: Crayola is not in any way greasing my palm to name-drop for them.   But I will highlight the fact that they’re products are non-toxic.  Eating their green paint will not kill you.  Live and learn.