Universal Truths

Our youngest sprout spoke to me yesterday about a project for high school she is working on. Her task is to write an essay about a specific universal truth. I didn’t tell her this, but I am glad, at least, that the school is affirming such a thing as universal truths.

She was struggling with which one to pick. I tried to get her to write about death as a universal truth. She told me that was too negative. She’s probably right.

In typical Greenbean fashion, I shot off about seven or eight quick universal truths that I think are worthy of her time and thought.

  1. No matter which line you pick at the grocery store or bank, it will be the slowest one.
  2. If you love a restaurant, and brag about how great it is to your friends, the one time you take them there will be the worst experience ever.
  3. The book is always better than the movie. Always.
  4. Whenever a preacher says, “Let me conclude . . . ” or something to that effect you can bet he or she is nowhere near the end. She is just getting her second wind.
  5. If you wash your car, it will rain.
  6. Ten minutes is the shortest amount of time between when the nurse puts you in the little room and the doctor actually comes to see you. This is true even if no other patients are in the building.
  7. A watched kettle never boils.
  8. If the dog gets sick or has an accident, it will be on the carpet. It will not be on the 93% of your floor that is tile or hardwood.shapiro-most-famous-dog-on-instagram-1200x630-1448389260

In the end she rejected these. I don’t know why? She decided to go with something all serious like, “human beings need companionship” or “everyone is prejudice about something.” I guess she wanted to get an A on her paper.

I’ve turned comments on for this post–in case any of you wanted to share some universal truths form your experience.


Tonight I went to the two-hour freshman orientation for my daughter.  It was, maybe, the last orientation I’ll ever attend as she is my youngest and parents don’t usually go to college orientation.  I suppose my next orientation gig will be when they show me around the nursing home my kids pick for me.  Oh I hope it has a coffee bar.

Anyway, I digress.  It was an incredibly boring event, but, as you might expect, there were some things that I found interesting.  Here are some of the highlights.

1.  The dress code continues to be ridiculous.  My daughter still can’t wear bandanas to school.  She was told by one of the teachers, “If we don’t like your hairpin, we will physically yank it out of your hair.”  This school is filled with dress code Nazis.  I’m serious.  The rule book even spells out that it is a violation to wear anything with a skull and crossbones.  So no Pirates of the Caribbean t-shirts.  Oh, and I guess they can’t read my excellent short story, Jolly Rogers.

2.  Speaking of dress codes, the rule specifically spells out that boys may not have beards.  They can have a moustache, but no beard.

From the actual handbook.
From the actual handbook.

Not even a goatee.  Now, as a bearded man I find this offensive.  If a 16 or 17 year old boy, working to fill adequate about his manhood is able to grow a beard, he should be allowed to.  Not only allowed, but it should be applauded and encouraged.  A beard is not deviant behavior.

3.  The funniest moment for me came about an hour into the program.  The principal had just given a passionate speech about how the high school had put wifi in all the buildings, was sparing no expenses in spending new bond money for updated technology, and that every student would be given an iPad.  Then, not two heartbeats later, the cafeteria director stood up and informed everyone that if a kid got more than $10 behind on his lunch bill, he or she would only be given a cheese sandwich and a glass of water for lunch, with the implication that Bruiser and Killer would be by the house later to collect.  How screwed up is that?  We’ll give them an iPad, but not lunch.  The world is so weird.

4.  File this under “Hashtag sarcasm.”  Right before the principal gave this great speech about technology and streaming it seamlessly into the classroom he informed us that students were only allowed to use their cell phones if a teacher allowed it.  Again, the irony is delicious.  We give them iPads, but restrict their cell usage.  Oh, by the way, you can follow all the administration and counselors on Twitter, but apparently you can’t tweet them at school.

5.  I just can’t let this go.  All the talk about embracing technology was reinforced with constant encouragements to visit the schools internet link for student information.  We can check grades, print transcripts, see absences and do so many wonderful things.  The system is called Skyward and just about every school in North America uses it.  Come on people, why not go ahead and name it what it really wants to be–SKYNET, with complete control of everything.

6.  The school really cares if an athlete is falling behind on his grades, because an athlete is not eligible to play if he or she fails and some of the coaches are on board with this.  No mention was made if the school cared if a non-athlete fell behind in grades.

7.    The students don’t know their schedule yet and can’t find out.  So, freshmen are showing up the first day of school with, literally, no clue where to go.  They have to find their name on a big board that tells them which room to go to.  Then, in that room, they will get their schedule.  Now, that is the first time they see their schedule, on the first day.  They may have gotten the classes they wanted, or they might not have.  Sorry, though, schedules can’t be changed.  Literally, a student is stuck with the luck of the draw on the first day for the whole year.  The whole year.  That is messed up.

So those were the highlights.  Makes me very glad that I went to high school at a sane institution, run by people who loved to teach children, at a time when a teenager could actually be a teenager.  Man I miss the 80s.


This morning as I was getting ready for work, my youngest daughter calls me from the school bus and says, “I forgot my binder.  Can you bring it to me, everything for today is in it.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!”  Who can resist that, right?  So, on the way to work I drop by Cedar Heights and leave the binder in the office.  I told the kind woman at the desk, “This is for my daughter.  She is in seventh grade, which means you will see me many, many more times dropping things off for her.”

Over the years my children have called for various things they have forgotten to be brought by the school.  Here are the most common, “Daddy, please bring me…”

1.  Lunch.  My children forget their lunch far too often.  I find this as a great surprise because all they ever want to do is eat.  How can people who eat that much ever forget their lunch?  It doesn’t make sense.

2.  Forms.  I don’t know what it is about children that causes them to procrastinate, but it seems like they wait until the last minute to turn in that form for whatever–a permission slip, a school picture form, a health document or whatever–but then they forget to bring it on that absolute last day it is due.  Forms will be my ruin.

3.  Schoolwork.  This really starts happening in junior high and continues through high school.  Schoolwork doesn’t seem to be that pressing in elementary.  To my way of thinking, the key reason they often forget schoolwork is the ridiculous schedule they are on.  I have yet to figure out how you can have 6th period first?  Back in my day, we had the same classes everyday.  It wasn’t until college that I first had a MWF then a TTH schedule.  But South Kitsap doesn’t do either of those.  I don’t know what their method is but it seems like my daughter could have math on Tuesday, then again on Friday and the following Monday but not again until Thursday.  No wonder they don’t know what day homework is due.

4.  Money.  By money I don’t mean lunch money, I mean money for things.  $30 for PE uniforms, $40 for a band field trip, $120 for ASB, $15 for homecoming tickets; there is always something they need money for.  It often feels like the school is trying to bleed me dry.   If I had more than 2 kids I would probably have to get a second job delivering pizzas just to get by.