On the table in front of me is, possibly, the worst example of a contact-covered exercise book I have ever seen. It looks like a three dimensional representation of the Grand Canyon, except in a silver holographic design that causes temporary blindness when the light reflects off it.
It’s back to school time (yay!) next week and I have been busy preparing for that glorious day with great zeal, because for me, it can’t come quick enough. I love my kids, but after nearly nine weeks of holidays, I will be glad to see the back of them for six hours each day.
My friend, Kylee, and I always cover our books together, over a couple of Southern Comforts (for her) and Vodkas (for me). We do this at night, after the kids are in bed, because labelling pencils, textas, crayons, sharpeners, rulers and protractor sets has to be one of the world’s most tedious jobs and definitely needs some redeeming or enticing element to it, such as alcohol.
This year, however, we weren’t able to meet up at night time, so we arranged to cover our books last Wednesday afternoon on my dining table. The afternoon timeslot we had chosen had two major setbacks:
1. The kids were still up and asking, every three minutes, what we were up to and could they have another packet of ‘Tiny Teddies’, and,
2. There was no alcohol involved.
DA DA DAAAAAAA! (dramatic music)
Kylee’s books looked neat and tidy, as she worked her hand along each cover to smooth out the bubbles. She is very good at crafty things and has infinitely more patience than me.
My books have the complexion of an acne prone teenager. They contain more bumps than the surface of the moon and more corrugations than a Colourbond roof. Each time I tried, like Kylee, to smooth them out, the air bubbles just transferred into another part of the contact paper, sometimes joining up with other air bubbles to form ‘Ubér bumps’.
The corrugations didn’t respond to the movement of my unenthusiastic hand over them either– they congregated into groups of a dozen and now look like a geriatric Shar Pei.
So, this leads me to two alarming possibilities about myself and the contact paper-Vodka relationship:
1. Vodka transforms me into a crafty, patient, attention-to-detail supremo who can use contact paper with the skill and precision of a Neuro surgeon, or,
2. Vodka makes me less likely to care about the utterly crap appearance of my children’s school books and any developmental ramifications this may have for them either in their short or long term future.
Should I contact the local University and ask them to commence a long term study into the effect on children’s development into adolescence in those who have ‘utterly crap’ contact coverings on their school books? It’s sure to be used as a legal defence at some time in the future.
In ten years time will my children be sitting in their Psychologists office, detailing the horrors of having to collect an exercise book, in front of an entire class of peers, that is rougher than a Pineapple? Will their friends call them ‘Rylan popcorn-book’ or ‘Ethan cottage cheese-cover’?
Will it lead to ‘Post traumatic contact cover stress disorder’?
The good thing is that they are boys and are not concerned about aesthetics. This is evident from Rylan’s pyjama top which is a walking menu of the dinners we have eaten in the last week. None of my boys brush their hair unless they are told to (three times) because looking like an electric shock victim doesn’t bother them. Nor do the boys have great observational skills. The proof of this is in the fact that they sometimes call me Dad. Do they not know the difference between Jason and myself by now?
So, I’ll try to forgive myself for their school books looking so hideous because chances are, they won’t even notice. I will put my faith in their peer’s maturity and ability to empathise with my children’s plight, because as we all know, you can’t judge a book by its cover.