Friday, January 28, 2011

6 Reasons Why Kindergarten Was Fucking Awesome

School life seems to go through a U-shaped development...or rather, a backwards J. Elementary school is typically the best time you're going to have in your free, public school education, junior high is a nightmare world of goblins and hormones, and high school is when things either improve or at least aren't as shitty as they were in junior high. With that in mind, I'm going to write this under the assumption that your peak enjoyment of school starts right off the bat in Kindergarten, and here are my reasons:

1. You can piss in your pants and it’s still OK.

This is the last time you will ever get away with peeing in your pants in school. Granted, other kids will laugh at you, but teachers will give you a little more leeway than they would in, say, 3rd grade. There's still the assumption that school is a new experience, and therefore accidents will happen. If you've been at it for a few years and you're still pissing in your pants, you're going to get some concerned looks and possibly a trip to the school shrink. Full disclosure: I never peed my pants in school, but a classmate did and we all got a good laugh out of it.

2. You get to watch cartoons of tall tales like Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed.

American folktales are part of our heritage, and it is your duty as an American child to know who Pecos Bill, John Henry, and all these other people are. Well, not really, but teachers think you should know, and Disney cartoons of these figures were a staple of my Kindergarten experience because these figures are “important” and this therefore the cartoons were "educational". You also get to watch shit like "Ben and Me," which taught me the valuable lesson that if you're small and have little power, all of your ideas will be stolen by someone bigger with more influence.

3. Your teachers won’t scold you for scribbling when you’re coloring something. In fact, in some instances scribbling is encouraged.

The shrill cries of "STAY INSIDE THE LINES!!!" are less shrill at this point in your education, since teachers rightfully see you as barely able to walk without knocking things over, let alone hold a crayon straight.

4. Expectations in kindergarten are so ridiculously low that this is the only point in your educational life where it’s impossible to fuck up and be held back.

Everything you learn is so basic that you've already gone over it numerous times on Sesame Street. The main point of kindergarten, especially for those who never went to preschool, is to get kids adjusted to being away from home for several hours at a time, and getting used to the routine that's going to dominate the remainder of their lives. Also, the fun to work ratio is ridiculously skewed to the "fun" side, and that will change exponentially with each grade they move up.

5. Almost every new thing you get introduced to is amazing.

I remember nearly bursting with excitement the first time I saw a cornucopia, or a diorama. We read books like How the Spider Saved Halloween and they were awesome. People came to class in costumes to teach us neat shit about history. We even had a guy dressed up as an Indian come in and tell us about corn and shit. All the things that become "lame" as you age are mind-blowing when you're a kid.

6. If you have a really cool book filled with pictures of dinosaurs, you automatically become cool by default.

OK, so this one's a bit specific, but it still holds. I had a big dinosaur book that I brought to school one time. It was thick and had a ton of pictures of dinosaurs. As soon as I opened it up, it was like the Popularity Fairy sprinkled its dust on me, because people gravitated towards me to look at the book and became friends. This teaches you a lesson that you keep for the remainder of your life, for better or worse: owning nice things makes you a more important person. The first kid who had Super Mario Bros 3 suddenly had more friends wanting to go to his house. This creates happy little capitalists who high-five each other over their iPads and brag over the superiority of their cars. Wait a minute...maybe this isn't such a great thing about kindergarten. But still, my dinosaur book is better than yours.