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Endless summer

There is a move on to keep kids in school year-round. It seems we need to keep up with the rest of the world. If I am reading the situation correctly, the only way we will ever keep up is to learn to live on starvation wages while performing mind-numbing, soul-deadening, repetitive tasks. It is not Britain, France or Germany that we are having trouble with. I will say that we do not prepare our school kids for the reality of the work place what with the numerous breaks and vacations. It is a bit of a shock when they discover that they have to show up for work EVERY DAY. What’s more, you don’t get credit for effort. Only results count.Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Till your good is better, and your better’s best. Talk about pressure. This is a sort of mantra for Japanese school children, who, I am told, also have one of the highest suicide rates in the world. To never be satisfied with what we have achieved is a hard way to live. Of course, if you are the boss it is not quite so stressful. Now you can be perpetually dissatisfied with what the help achieves. I could live with that. Unfortunately, I have usually been on the other end of that stick.When we were kids, the beginning of summer vacation seemed like the beginning of forever. School was so far away that it seemed like it would never rear its ugly head again. We gloried in doing nothing … for a while. Then we would get bored with nothing and start looking for stuff to do: stickball games in the streets during the day, dodge ball in the evening, and hide and seek at night. Boys played “catch” perpetually while the girls hopscotched. I even joined the Boys Club one year, where they taught us manly things, like how to get beaten up at boxing by the bigger boys.Eventually summer would make threatening noises about coming to an end. Back-to-school sales sent a chill down our spine. The unthinkable had been thunk. The return of school seemed like the beginning of forever, only now it was a living nightmare. At least that’s the way it felt until, like a cold shower, we got used to it. The only thing we hated more than school itself was that kid who kept prattling on about how much they had been looking forward to school again. Eventually they would become kamikaze pilots. I am pretty sure about this.When we got to high school we learned that, even in America, we could ruin summer. Welcome to summer school.Bill Abrams resides and is still (occasionally) taking courses, in Pine Plains.

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