Saturday 03 Dec 2016

The Cuckoo's Nest
Jennifer Flaten

Perched on the edge of the chair, I squirm around trying to find a comfortable position for my adult sized butt on a kid-sized chair.

All around me, I heard scraping and rustling noises as other parents attempt to fold themselves into the minuscule chairs.

Welcome to parent information night at the elementary school. If you are not familiar with it, the school has parent info night so parents can learn important school information like teaching methods, drop off or pick up rules and what constitutes an acceptable snack.

Pausing in my continuous efforts to stave off paralysis, I tune into the teacher's PowerPoint presentation.

Oh, I need to focus; the teacher is clicking past her family photos in the 'about me' section and bringing up the student health slide.

I will give you one guess as to the main topic of concern. Yep, the swine flu is the main health worry. For the first time ever, lice is not the number one (and only) item on the student health agenda.

Are you as sick of hearing about the swing flu as I am? Frankly, as far as I'm concerned the swine flu can bite me.

Here is my thought; we are a mighty industrialized nation. We built the atomic bomb for god's sake, so why can't we come up with a vaccination or something to eradicate this stupid little germ?

Yeah, yeah there is a vaccination in the works, but from what I hear I will probably get the flu fifteen times before the shot is ready, but that's a whole other rant.

Anyway, the teacher is describing the special sanitation procedures.

Mmm, okay, so far nothing too drastic. They are doing a lot of hand washing, that's to be expected.

Although, I am a little worried about her wild laugh as she mentions that the kids might need hand lotion to soothe their chapped hands.

New this year is table/desk sanitation, which explains the gross of wipes listed on the school supply list. Everyday the kids will wipe down every surface in the room with an anti-bacterial wipe.

I am pretty sure that by the end of the month the kids will cry at the smell of Lysol.

Huh, next she mentions that she is still giving hugs, high fives or handshakes to the kids as they enter the class, but she might have to stop if the school deems it too dangerous.

Who wants to live in a world where a hug is dangerous'?

Correct me if I am wrong, but aren't the flu germs airborne? It is not as if they need skin-to-skin contact for transmission. If a kid is sick, his mere breathing is going to do everyone in not a handshake.

On that happy note, the presentation is over and parents thunder to the door, pushing each other aside in their race for freedom.

I head upstairs for round two of parent information night-the third grade presentation.

Ahh, sweet, full size chairs, I settle in ready to hear what to expect in third grade. As it turns out the chairs are the only thing different about the presentation.

The third grade teachers spend approximately 10 minutes talking about the actual teaching aspects of third grade and the remaining twenty areà you guessed it, what they are doing to prevent the flu.

Oh, for cryin' out loud, enough with the flu already I can't stand it anymore.

Aside from the assiduous desk scrubbing and the ever-popular elbow sneeze there isn't much you can do to stop the swine flu. It's the flu, let's get vaccinated and get on with our lives.

I did find out that the district is thinking of quarantining entire families if one kid exhibits symptoms. Oy! Now we are getting a little crazy.

Banning an entire family from school probably won't stop the flu from spreading but it certainly keep the kids from learning.

Maybe researchers should abandon the flu vaccine research and focus on designing a kid sized hamster ball.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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