By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… School started last week. This early start time is a good move in that it will allow the first semester to end before Christmas break. Much of what follows is a rehash of a column I wrote in 2011. This happens when I go on vacation. It is very hard to tell when I am on vacation, but I am definitely on vacation.
The best thing we who live in the desert southwest have to mark the seasons is the opening and closing of school. I was raised in Iowa where fall was marked by the turning of leaves, winter by the snowfall, spring by the new growth and summer by hot muggy days. Our major seasons here are not that easily marked. Fall is marked by the return of the kids to school, Winter by the return of the snowbirds, Summer is marked by the close of school and the roar of motor homes heading back to Idaho, Montana, and Utah.
Moms can now take a deep breath, as they will have peace and quiet for seven hours a day. Kids will once again be greeting friends and begin to fall into the routine of backpacks, books, and school lunches.
School lunches are dear to my heart for I went to school to play football and eat lunch. I was much better at the latter. The day when the school lunch was a meal prepared at the local cafeteria by local cooks has gone the way of the dinosaur. The school’s cook with her orthopedic hose, hair net, and the disposition of an angry mother grizzly bear is gone.
My mother insisted I take a lunch, because she was not about to spend a quarter a day on a school lunch. I soon found that I could get a free lunch if I helped serve and immediately applied. Since it was uncool to be a server, the competition was not too great.
I was soon fired because I ate more than I served. I still had to make a lunch because I was afraid to tell my mother I was working as a server. That was the sign you were poor. We definitely were not poor and my mother hated anything that might suggest we were. However, I much preferred the school lunch to that which I could bring from home.
Nowadays the peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which was the last minute answer to putting the school lunch together, has been banned since peanuts have become more lethal than nuclear radiation.
It is amazing how many of us grew up on this staple and are still up and kicking. It must be another example of the ‘wussafication’ of America. How are we to stand against North Korea when our kids crumble at the smell of a peanut butter sandwich? Those who denied that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction overlooked the mass of peanut butter that country had stock-piled. The threat was real, folks!
We can no longer use brown paper bags as the eco-nuts have decided that it will destroy the forests of America. Not only that, all lunch boxes must be violence neutral. Those Roy Rogers metal pails would never make it today because Roy was always armed.
In some California school districts, parents are advised that if the Power Rangers or any of their friends are on lunch boxes they will be confiscated under the zero-tolerance policy.
In one Chicago school district, lunches from home are examined by school officials, and food not found acceptable is confiscated and replaced with food items the school deems appropriate. Notes of reprimand are then sent to parents.
One school official was appalled that the student was sent with two chocolate bars along with their ham and cheese sandwich. They indicated to the mother that she was negligent in the care of her child. Negligent? I am putting her in for the mother of the year. I never got one candy bar let alone two.
A few years ago the food Nazis in Clark County pressured the board into removing sodas from the campus vending machines. They also attacked the candy bars and M&Ms that were being dispensed.
This had two major effects on the school. First, it cut into school funds as the profits from the machines were used for various student activities. Secondly, it opened up a black market among the students. Enterprising students began to sell the counter-ban items out of their lockers.
You have to love kids. I suppose it was a great lesson in the capitalist system that most of these effete food Nazis abhor.
The high school cafeteria is becoming obsolete. This makes me wonder where the social structure of the high school is now displayed. It used to be in the cafeteria where one learned whether he was cool or not. Those who are as old as I will remember the cool girls and guys sat in one area. Athletes often had their area. Then there was a place for the rest of us.
While I was a football player, I never encroached on either the athlete or cool area. I lived on the other side of town and never really established many ties with anyone in the high school.
To this day, I really don’t see much adverse effect on my life. It did however make it so I did not have the lemming-type drive that forces people to attend the 20th, 25th, and 50th reunion of their graduating class.
The old “do or die for old North High” never really took a hold of my soul. It might be that it is hard to sell your soul to a school whose colors are pink and green. Yes, I said pink and green.
As for you graduates of Moapa Valley High School who will be Pirates for life and may bleed Blue and Gold, more power to you. I will not bleed pink and green nor die a polar bear.
As the school year opens, I have nothing but best wishes for the students, parents, teachers, and administrators of our local schools. On the teachers first day back the Moapa Valley Rotary Club fed the area teachers a well-deserved breakfast. It was a great start to what I hope will once again be a great year for the best schools in America.
Thought of the week… Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”