Mix my martini, fast: it’s back to school in the Magic City. As summer slowly folds up like the last beach umbrella at sunset, we shake the sand out of our sandals, dust off the Mary Janes, and brace ourselves once again for the sheer horror of what lies ahead: the back to school ride through hell.
Gone are the days of simply packing your child off to school with a number two pencil and an apple for the teacher. One is now required to stumble through long registration lines like cattle on slaughter day, with glazed over eyes, as chipper housewives on elevated doses of stimulants poke at us with cattle prods, advising us of the next packet that must be purchased, committee we must volunteer for, after school activity, and so forth.
Your very own Scarlet popped in not long ago at one recent Mountain Brook registration and is still recovering from the ordeal, having been nearly knocked over by one well heeled mommy and her kindergartner, dressed in matching $7,000 wool ensembles from the Fall trunk showing in Milan in their mad rush to grab the maintenance man and snap at him about the lack of air conditioning in the gymnasium. The only thing drowning out their commotion was the squeals of horror emanating around the corner as one frantic mother searched the names on the class rosters and discovered that her Precious Penelope had been placed in the same class with Unfortunate Ursula, despite a certified letter to the principal demanding that this NOT occur, and began threatening to stop payment on the check that her father had written for the new playground equipment. As her protests became more insistent, a crowd began to gather to witness this little tempest in the teapot. Always anxious to take note of the lively entertainment, I could not help but noticing that one mother had dropped her registration bill in the stampede to watch the unfolding drama:
Registration fee: $100
Lab fees: $100
Pre-packaged school supplies: $200
Extra curricular activity (“Equestrian Adventures “) -including pony, stable and ½ acre of land: $475,000
Total Kindergarten Registration Fee: $475, 400
Fiddley dee, even Scarlet knows that four hundred and seventy five thousand dollars buys a lot of sweet tea. It’s almost enough to pay a divorce attorney’s bill. As I continued to make my way through the seemingly endless registration line, I paused at the “After School Activities” table to peruse the offerings. As always, there was quite a long signup sheet for the always popular “Gardening for Golddiggers” club, which teaches young princesses at a tender age not only about gardening, but the alphabet as well:
“We drive our ASTIN Martin to buy AZALEAS with our ALIMONY”. Just next to this table was another curious club…some sort of “boys’ club” of sorts, and while I never did ascertain the exact purpose of the club, I was able to peruse the textbook, and concluded that it must be some sort of club for budding attorneys, perhaps.
Among the curious entries in the text, I read the following in the book entitled, “Mother Goose v. Father Goose”:
“Jack and Jill went up the hill
to take Jill’s deposition
Jack fell down
From drinking Crown,
And took the judges fishin’ “
“Hickory, Dickory, Dock-
We’re billing by the clock.
We take our time,
And spend their dime,
“Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater
Had a wife and liked to beat her
Paid his lawyers very well
And never sat a day in jail.”
As I was beginning to turn the page, my concentration was abruptly interrupted by the shrieks of Penelope’s mother, upon finally being informed that the class list was FINAL and all of her protests were in vain. As she reached in her Louis Vuitton bag to grab her valium, the valium spilled all across the gymnasium floor and rolled underneath the Manolo Blahnik heel of Minnie May Moneysuckle, who tripped and fell, ripping the hem of her St. John suit, requiring the gracious assistance of an ambulance and two Mountain Brook fire trucks.
Such an unfortunate state of affairs calls for yet another visit from Anonymous and his infamous Torreon de Paredes Carmenere….perhaps I should call him now…although in Scarlet’s stubborn opinion, the Mountain Brook public school system remains the FINEST, despite the unfortunate cast of characters, and Anonymous always disagrees…
I’ll think about that tomorrow. And so the sun sets once again over the magnolia trees in this Magic City…where the tea is sweeter…where some things simply never change…
And we like it that way. Until next time, Scarlet
Ask Scarlet a question, and she will tell you how to navigate those stormy waters. Send your questions to email@example.com. Or go to www.bhamweekly.com and comment on her articles. In case you missed some before she was as popular in Birmingham as she was in high school, with many disappointed suitors, try these on for size: