Back-To-School Wisdom For My Former Self: Day 1

by Sam Kemmis

Returning to school was always a stressful time for me, because I was a half-witted ball of neuroses. If I could go back and visit my former self, I would say: "Sam: Cool the f%$* out, buddy." In that spirit, I've written a series of letters to my former schoolboy self, providing heartfelt advice for the new year.

Today's letters: Too Dumb To Breathe (Kindergarten through 2nd grade)


Listen, kid: Socrates said, "All I know is that I know nothing," and that's you in a nutshell right now.

You are pretty much an idiot in every capacity. Don't be offended (not that you can even read at this point), it's just a fact. You cannot accomplish anything that matters in any way.

So enter your schooling with a bit of humility. Oh lord, you won't even know what that word means. See the problem? Just be aware that almost everything you do, from finger-painting to playing with blocks, is entirely meaningless in the bigger scheme of things. Hell, it's meaningless in the smaller scheme of things. Don't worry too much about failing at these tasks, because they will have absolutely 0 impact on the part of your life that will actually matter.

1st Grade

Listen, buddy: Bee stings hurt a little bit.

But you can't go building your whole life around avoiding bees altogether. SPOILER ALERT: You're going to get stung by a bee in September. It's going to sting you on the ear, which isn't great, but listen: It isn't the end of the goddamn world.

You've got to learn how to read, how to tell time, how to tie your laces, and all that important stuff. You can't waste away the prime of your youth wringing your hands over 30 seconds of potential pain. Bees sting sometimes, and there's nothing you can do about it. There are decisions borne of fear and decisions borne of desire -- screw it you're still to stupid to even know what I'm talking about.

2nd Grade

Listen: Please please please please please just close your eyes and plug your ears when you watch that odd animated sex-ed video.

No, I don't know why our school thinks it's appropriate to show us this video, but those are forces beyond your control. Just pay attention to me for a second you ADD-riddled moron: That video is going to mess up your entire emotional and sexual life for DECADES. The image of that Schoolhouse-Rock-esque animated sperm competing viscously for access to the ovum is going to HAUNT YOUR MIND.

I know you think girls are yucky, cootie-ridden pariahs now. But at some point you're not going to think that. In fact, you're going to think the opposite of that. And you want to be able to interact with them without attendant crippling psychological problems, right? Believe me, you do. You're very frustrating to write a wisdom-seeped letter to, kid -- just don't pay attention to the video and you can do whatever the hell else you want this year, OK?