Backchat With Catboy
Our man on the radio is not cool for school.
SSeptember used to be just another month to me. It was the month of ‘meh’. Summer is over and Christmas is too far away to get excited about. Being forced to endure people’s holiday stories and pretending to be interested in their travel photos has died down. September was lacking in get-up-and-go. Then we had kids. Now September is Ground Zero. It’s Def Con One. It’s D-Day. It’s lift-off! In fact, I’m petitioning to have September as the new January. Like January, September is a post-holiday month and, as a parent, September is also a WEHAVE-NO-MONEY month.
At least in January you’ve got a good excuse for being broke. You’ve eaten to excess, partied hard and bought loads of fun toys. September has none of that.
The reason you’re broke in September is kids. Let me walk you through the costs.
You’ve paid school fees (roughly the equivalent of keeping a fully state-funded comprehensive school afloat for eight years in England). You’ve bought school uniforms, which are ridiculous these days. The PE kit isn’t just a PE kit anymore. Oh no. Now it’s a special kit for rugby, whites for cricket, a pair of skis and a rifle for the biathlon.
Next comes stationary. I was recently in the stationary aisle of a large supermarket for an hour-and-ahalf as my nearest and dearest filled a trolley. With a weary sigh, I joked to my wife that it must be called the stationary aisle because I’d been stood motionless in it for so long. The virtual right-hook I got from my wife’s eyes suggested she wasn’t in a bantering kind of place.
Recently there’s been a lot of discussion about the use of iPads in schools and I can tell you I was vehemently against it. However, once I received the extensive (and compulsory) list of pens, pencils, crayons, felt-tips, charcoals, paint brushes, markers, highlighters, whiteboard markers, books, textbooks, dictionaries (English, French, Arabic, Swahili and Klingon), art pads, sketchbooks, canvasses, protractors, set squares, compasses, rulers and scientific calculators to be bought, I had a change of heart.
The iPad would cost less than the collective sum of the previous paragraph and, more importantly, it’s a one-off purchase that is done in a matter of seconds, rather than the slow motion epic that sees 15 minutes tick by as the choice is made between two types of ballpoint pen.
My point is this: if you’re sansenfants, enjoy the apparent ennui of September because one day it will no longer be the thumb-twiddling doddle it once was.