Why I'm Not President of the PTO

This is the email I sent out to everyone on my email list from The Not Nice Kid's elementary school. YOU CAN'T FIX STUPID.

A couple of years ago we were having one of "those" mornings...couldn't find a clean uniform shirt, didn't have lunch packed, there's only one shoe...those days happen. By the time we got in the car one kid was crying, the other was sulking and The Mama was hoarse from yelling. It was NOT a pleasant environment.

And then some idiot in an old snub-nosed van decided to ride my bumper down Houston Town Road. The speed limit is 45, I was doing 50 and he was about six inches off my ass. All. The. Way. Down. The. Road. We have a trooper who frequents this place some mornings (maybe because I call the trooper's office every two weeks) so there's no REASON to speed...it's only about a mile and a half to the highway. Take your time. Smell the roses. Arrive in one piece. But this guy obviously had an agenda and it involved some sort of interaction with the back half of my car. And this was NOT a good morning to be messin' with The Mama.

We pulled up to the stop sign, I put my car in park, I took off my seatbelt, I got out of the car and I walked back to that van. The man was frantically trying to lock the door and roll up the window at the same time. I opened his door and I jerked that man out of his van. His glasses fell on the ground. His mouth was flapping like a trout on the riverbank. The man in the other seat was trying to find the door handle and they both had eyes the size of saucers.

Technically, I shook his hand. Technically, I shook his hand A LOT...I shook his hand until he stumbled back and sort of "sat down" on the edge of his seat. I introduced myself (using my maiden name because, considering where we were, there was a 50/50 chance I was either related to him or my dad had given him a job and I BY GEORGE wanted him to know I wasn't going away) and then I turned around and walked back to my car, fastened my seat belt and took my kids to school. They weren't having much to say.

The van was still sitting there when I drove out of sight.

The point of THAT story is to tell THIS story. (That's a line from Ron White and if you didn't know that, you should.)

Every now and then, as I'm going along and minding my own business, I feel a jerkin' coming on. Someone does something REALLY stupid and I think, "That idiot needs a jerkin'." So far, I've resisted the temptation but the driving habits on Catholic Hill are beginning to wear on my nerves.

When you come in off Tennessee Street and start up the hill? You need to slow down. Considering that I have MY kids in MY car and they are VERY IMPORTANT kids IMHO, you need to slow down A LOT. Fast cars and small kids on school property do NOT jive. Your foot. On the brake. It's a good idea.

When you get UP that hill? The road curves to the right. That means, the right of way is to the right. When you come sailing up that hill, driving too fast, you do NOT have the option to "choose" which way you'd like to go. Either curve to the right or YIELD the right of way, stop, look, listen if you're particularly dense, and then proceed straight if you're going downstairs. This isn't rocket science, it's common sense and courtesy and both of those will take you a long way.

Should you be a woman, driving too fast, sailing up that hill, hauling ass straight across Plum and down to the cafeteria and you have a CELL PHONE in one hand and a MASCARA WAND in the other? There's apt to be a jerkin'. I'm just saying. This goes back to those important children who just HAPPEN to belong to me. If you are driving a motor vehicle then you need to be paying attention to your driving skills. Get OFF the phone and get UP ten minutes early to put on your make-up...you may not believe this but you CANNOT do three things at once. I've seen you not do it.

THEN. Once you top that hill and make your choice and you decide you're going downstairs? You need to slow down some more. Because if you start down that hill at 7:35 in the morning and there's a car parked in front of the lunchroom doors? There's about a ONE HUNDRED PERCENT chance that a child is about to get out of that car!! No lie!! I've seen it happen!! Should you be driving a shiny black truck with UNATOO for a personalized tag? That's my kid coming out of the car and you do NOT want to be doing 30 miles an hour past the lunchroom at the exact moment my kid opens the car door. That's one more important kid in this household, whether you give a flip or not. Should you ever again nearly hit my kid, coming out of my car? There's liable to be a jerkin'. I'm just saying.

This also brings us to the people who, for some reason known only to themselves, are so important and are so desperately needed some place that they do not feel required to follow the flow of traffic. As a general rule, the traffic around St. Joseph flows clockwise. It flows clockwise because THAT'S THE SAFE WAY TO DO IT. Everyone, flowing along, paying attention, driving slowly, watching for small darting children. This works. I don't know what page you read that says you can come in the back way, past the gym, past pre-K, past the first grade and LET YOUR KID OUT in front of the lunchroom, headed the wrong way? But you're on the wrong page. Honey...you're in the wrong BOOK. And there's liable to be a jerkin'. I'm just saying.

While we're at it, may we address your child's physical capabilities? If your kid is old enough to be getting in and out of a car in front of the school, your child is capable of opening a car door. I know...I've seen it happen. If you have a child who is getting out at the front door of the school and that child is not capable of opening a car door, picking up his backpack, getting out of the car, closing the car door and walking into the school? There are classes that will help your child. Or, if such is the case, there are classes that will help YOU. Teach your child. To open a car door. Turns out? That's a pretty NECESSARY skill. I know...I've seen people do it a LOT.

We might also address entrances and exits as in...don't block 'em. If you are in line to pick up your kid at the front door? Don't block the entrance to the playground. We pick up kids by age and, believe it or not, there are parents who don't drive up to the front door. There are parents who pick up their kids in the parking lot at the playground and...THEY NEED TO BE ABLE TO GET IN THERE. As you're edging along, in line for the front door of the school, and you get to the entrance to the parking lot? Stop. No big deal, no extra effort for you...let those people in. They are there for a reason and I'm sure they would afford you the same courtesy, given the chance. It's a very courteous school. I know. I've been here a while.

Considering that I've been raising kids for 28 years (count 'em) and haven't killed one yet, I'm not preaching because I have all the answers but because...whatever it is? I've already messed it up. At least once. And learned. I've learned a LOT and one of the things I've learned is that these are very precious kids. And to have been entrusted with their safekeeping is the most important job I'll ever have.

Bar none. And when YOUR stupidity interferes with MY kids' safety? I might feel a jerkin' coming on. I've seen it happen.


Tom said…
I've got at least 15 people that need a jerkin' but it takes on a whole different cast when it comes from a man. I'm likely to get my ass kicked from here to next Sunday if I try. Besides that, it is entirely too frigid to have to pick myself up off the cold cold ground when that happens.