Back to School

I volunteered at a high school career fair tonight, in order to convince a bunch of teenagers that a career in marketing was the coolest thing ever.

I don’t remember the last time I set foot in a high school. But it was a long, long time ago.

Anyway, the kids were entitled to receive extra credit if they “interviewed” a certain number of professionals. They had a bunch of preprinted questions, and they pranced around the gymnasium going from table to table in order to get their homework done as quickly as possible.

I went with some colleagues, mostly lawyers, who were extremely popular with the kids. Was it because of the cool swag I had brought along, or were these young ‘uns legitimately interested in the practice of law? I’m pretty sure it was the former, because the sonic rocks, stress balls and baseball caps were gone well before the end of the fair.

It was interesting to watch the kids in action. The boys had no qualms about simply grabbing the toys, and they often grabbed more than one, without asking. The girls refrained from being greedy, would choose one giveaway and politely thank us. And this was the way it played out almost every single time.

As I was observing the kids, I thought back to my days in high school. And I had always thought that my friends and I were pretty mature. But now that I’m bumping up against 40, I realize how young we must have seemed to adults back then. How awkward. How silly.

And this is what my husband and I have to look forward to with Chloe and Sophie. It was a warm day today, and many of the girls were wearing shorts that were way too short. And the boys were wearing clothes that looked simply ridiculous – too baggy, too big, too thuggish.

The bathrooms were just as I had remembered them, though. Cigarette-stained toilet seats, musty smell, ugly tiles. The only difference was that when I was a teen, flushing the toilet wasn’t automated. Now, apparently, it is.

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