Thursday, October 6, 2016

For KP, And All My Friends Who Suffer

SFSSD is a well-known stress-based illness that strikes mostly parents, but some children, during Science Fair Season. SFSSD (Science Fair Seasonal Stress Disorder) can manifest itself in sweats, unexplained rashes, shortened temper, loss of sleep/appetite, unrestrained sighing, random face-palming, head-scratching, and irate social media posting, among other symptoms. It cannot be cured. The only remedy is time and, in some cases, liberal doses of scotch. Intravenous is not recommended, but understood. 

The cause of the disease is stupidity. Science Fair, like most educational opportunities, could be a fantastic exercise in satisfying an intellectual curiosity through independent learning, experimentation, critical thinking, discussion, and multi-pronged presentation. Think about answering this question: I wonder why…? or I wonder if…? Isn’t that what children intuitively do anyway? Touch things, push things, smell things, taste things, etc. to figure them out? How many times did you as a child, or as a parent watch a child, stare at ants, crouched low on the sidewalk, desperately curious? Science Fair is supposed to be that, with the informed and intentional guidance of a teacher nearby to ask questions, nudge in the right direction, and encourage. 

It is, instead, like going to the DMV wearing an eye patch, carrying 400 loose marbles in your hands, while suffering an incurable itch on your nose. And you’re late for something. The hapless conductors of this torture ride know they're making America want to bang its head on the wall again, but they, too, are victims. Like cafeteria ladies spooning luke-warm disappointment onto tired metal trays, held by prisoners of a system selling dismal like it's on sale, they simply service the line. No one wants to take the cold shower before getting in the pool. No one wants to do Science Fair.

Why, you ask? Why do we do it? 

RED FLAG! Searching for logical purpose or meaning in Science Fair can aggravate the condition. If you find yourself searching, stop immediately and call a friend with a child in college. There is no mandatory Science Fair in college. DANGER: If a friend has a child in college who is intentionally pursuing a course of study that includes presentations on tri-fold poster boards run, do not walk, away. Do not make friends with people who enjoy Science Fair. They are highly infirm. WARNING: Keep away from discount multi-colored construction paper after a bout with SFSSD, it could cause flashbacks.

To maximize comfort during an episode of SFSSD, passively accept your doom, keep shuffling forward, good eye on the exit. There is spray-glue-free air and reason on the other side. At worst, it's a seven year condition with intermittent breaks for emergency contact forms and strikes. When it's all over you just have to fill out the FAFSA for four years. Continuously. And then you die.

Each chocolate whenever you want.