Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday of Horrors

He would rather have a tooth removed than to participate in the events of the day. Chase, our twelve year old son, growing faster than the bean stalk Jack climbed, is appalled at the way his Saturday will unfold. Today he will take the dreaded SAT for the first time and tonight he will attend his first school dance.

A double whammy for the hormones of a pre-teenager, perpetually teetering precariously on the edge of a meltdown.

First, he will wake up at the same unmerciful hour our neighbor’s dog is allowed outside. While Chase showers, the stranger dog will yip around our yard with such a high pitched bark that all canine peers will use paws to cover their ears in distress.

In the meantime, my husband John, will bounce happily around the house with coffee cup in one hand, and a fist full of #2 pencils in the other, finely sharpened to a point of perfection. Although we were told that Chase would only need two pencils, my Eagle Scout husband added extras, because you can never be too prepared for the onslaught of disaster a broken piece of lead can bring.

Last night, John organized the testing packet, laying out the entrance ticket and school identification card by the back door. In his scholarly mind, this test represents the academic’s ultimate environment to regurgitate all stored information one will never use again.

It never ceases to amaze me the joy that comes to those who test well and the disdain that comes from those who do not. Call me a cynic, but the idea of any five hour test makes me want to poke out my own eyeball with the finely sharpened #2 pencil. For John, it is prime opportunity to showcase understanding of an endothermic reaction, knowledge that Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliaphobia is the fear of long words, and offer complete explanation of the Binomial Coefficients in Pascal’s Triangle.

(Now I would like to poke out my other eye)

The above provides insight into why my own SAT scores weren’t all that stellar. The only scientific fact I could remember from high school science was that the brain is made up of 80% water.

For some of us, I believe it’s closer to 90.

Later today, after Chase emerges from the scholastic coma the SAT will induce, he will reluctantly dress to prepare for the middle school dance. In the meantime, I will frolic happily around the house with fabulous tie in one hand, and all manner of cameras in the other, charged and ready to document this long awaited milestone. Although we were told that there would be a photographer at the dance, a meddling mom can never be too prepared or too irresponsibly reliant on the artistic eye of another.

Last night, I laid out the freshly pressed pants and newly purchased shirt. In my fashion conscience mind, this dance represents the ideal setting to example how one should never underestimate the effects of a well contrasted necktie.

It never ceases to amaze me the joy that comes to those who love a school dance and the disdain that comes from those that do not. My husband would rather chew off his right arm rather than to ever have to attend again a middle school social function. For me it is the perfect opportunity for my son to prove that the lessons learned in Junior Cotillion were worth all the pre-pubescent tantrums thrown in transit, that the box step can indeed be used to replace the gyrations of hip hop nonsense, and that tucking one’s shirt into belted pants does not bring about community catastrophe.

(My husband would now like to chew off his remaining arm)

The above proves insight into why the social aspects of middle school weren’t all that stellar for John. Understanding the color wheel proved of little use to one who tested color blind and dance of any sort only heightened awareness of double left feet.

As for Chase, he has little interest for either – test taking or dance step making – and continues to claim this day as horror of all horrors. In his opinion, a Saturday bookended by sharpened #2 pencils and color coordinated tie is enough to make a kid poke out his own eyeball AND chew off his right arm.

And remove another tooth just for hormonal effect.


KBear said...

Thanks for writing again!!!
I love your family!!

Joni said...

Thanks K!

I've never stopped writing.

It's just transfer of written nonsense in my brain to the computer screen that causes a little trouble.

I knew I should have paid better attention in typing class. : )


Gail said...

Wow, Chase took his SAT at age 12! That is so young! My kids didn't take their PSAT until 10th grade and their SAT in 11th grade (ages 16 and 17). I am sure Chase is happy that day is over! (How was the dance?)

Annapolis, MD

Joni said...


Chase took the test through the Duke Tip scholar program. I'm not entirely certain of the benefit except for the exposure to all one does not know.: )

Dance pictures coming soon. I am still waiting on permission from a certain twelve year old. I am confident that - with bribery - we can come to a creative licensing agreement.

Good to hear from you.


Gail said...

Joni - When my son was preparing for his SAT (6 years ago), he would answer the "Question of the Day" through the SAT College Board website (now there is an APP for it). A Critical Reading or Math question would be posted daily. You probably already know of this website, but it did help my son.

Chase now knows what to expect taking an SAT, so he will be more comfortable next time.

Looking forward to future posts...your "little" boy is growing up!

Annapolis, MD

Joni said...


I was not aware of this. Thanks for sharing the information with me. : )