Hello, October! I’m so glad you’re here. Seriously, You’re the best month ever!* Still, and don’t take this the wrong way, I’ll be glad to see you go. Sure, I love me some Halloween, but that’s not why I’ll be happy when the calendar hits November 1st. Neither am I looking forward with extra zeal to getting out my buckle shoes and hat and the fruit-and-veggie-laden cornucopia for Thanksgiving.
No, no. It’s none of that. It’s just that, well, September and October are what I like to loving refer to as the “bleeding dry” months.
What are those? I imagine anyone with two or more children participating in non-home-based primary education will understand exactly what I mean. It’s when your kids go back to school, and while you cheer and clapp that you’ve survived yet another summer vacation, school officials plot and scheme. And then, just when you’re ready to get on with, you know, things, they take their hellish revenge, siphoning all the monies from your life, one seemingly reasonable fee or fundraiser at a time.
Welcome back to school! Say, guess what!? It’s time for the Fall Festival. You want us to be buy books for the library, right? Well, then please come to the school this Saturday and be prepared to drop $40 each kid of $0.50 cent carnival games. We’ll be sure to send you home with a bag chock full of Airhead candy (aka, Kid Sugar Crack) and novelty “prizes” designed specifically to lead to onparalleled bickering, or, even better, instant self-destruction.
Oh, hey, can you say, “Picture Day”? Me too, but I call it “Checkbook Assault Day”. Sure, I’d love it if you could give my kids a fake plastic comb to drop on the floor and then swipe through their inevitable post-recess hair, just so your photographer can get that perfect shot of little Billy’s cowlick. Oh, and yes, of course I’d love to drop a c-note on the Family Ultra Deluxe picture package so Billy’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and their respective future parole offices can marvel at his cowlick, too. But, of course, that package won’t be quite right for our family, so let’s add a couple gross of wallets and a few 3x5s. Don’t worry, I’ve got the bank on hold, ready to refinance the house. Interest rates are good, right?
It doesn’t stop there, of course. Oh no. That’s just the start. For some reason there’s a universal bylaw that says 90% of all fundraisers must take place within 60 days of the start of school. The only notable exception, of course, being the Girl Scout Cookie Period, which is zealously defended by the GS Council of America. Indeed, may whatever God you believe in help you should you foolish attempt to sell candy bars during cookie season. I’m pretty sure the Council keeps Moose and Rocko and their “target group” on staff just to make sure the marching band doesn’t try to squeeze in on their turf.
So, anyway, all the rest of the fundraising has to be done right now. Popcorn? Yep. Pizza cards? Sure. Candies and Nuts? Oh, well, why not. I guess I could, um, shove some more crap down my pie-hole. Overpriced wrapping paper? Thank goodness! I’ve been sitting up nights worried that Christmas might arrive three months from now and I’d be paperless. And hells, yes, I’m look forward to getting the sausage and cheese order form for next week.
Oh, and what’s that? A field trip? No, wait, make it two! How much for admission? Oh, well, sure, why not? You’ll take a check, right? What the hell, field trips for everyone!
Here we are, then, at the first of October, and my wallet, once a pleasant lump beneath me, has been abused and overused. It’s now empty, home to little but moths, discolored at the fold from such use, flat as the proverbial pancake, sucked dry by the Chinese water torture of a small fee here, a fundraiser order there. Drip, drip, drip.
Next year I’m going to save myself the effort and just have a debit card for my checking account printed for the school. Let’s just hope they’ll send me receipts.
Oh, and anybody want to buy some popcorn?
*Shut up, it is too