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Jeff Whitten: School’s back? Yes!
editor's notes

Given the full court TV media blitz coverage of school starting back up, I figure everybody who hasn’t been living in a hamster cage somewhere out in the wilds of an I-95 interchange already knows the scoop. Still, you never know. So here’s an “exclusive.”


Guy in hamster cage: It did?

Local media types: It sure did!

Guy in hamster cage: Naw!

Local media: Yep!

Guy in hamster cage: School started back up?!?

Local media: Oh yeah, man! Seriously. School’s back, Jack! Times 30 or something! Hah! Guy under rock: Well how ‘bout that! They said back in May it would start back (pick a date) and it started back! I don’t care what people say about you journalists, but I am glad someone alerted you to let you know so you could let us know, and do it about 47 times a day in case we miss it!

Local media: You’re welcome. Just remember you heard it here first, second and third. And stay tuned for your local bus stop forecast!

Alas, my dear mother, who thanks to my father’s Army career herded three kids through public schools from South Carolina to Germany to Alaska to the awful nether regions of the rust belt and back home to South Carolina, probably never once needed to be told by some pompous dipstick of a TV anchor when school was fixing to start. She certainly didn’t need to be reminded after the fact.

Somehow we turned out all right – except for me.

I have some awful habits, including this sudden penchant on Deadline Day Eves of eating way too many coconut creme sugar free sugar wafers and Golden Flake pork crackling strips, the kind that come mildly seasoned with red pepper and sometimes look like they might’ve come off an armadillo.

Good stuff, but you start hearing things.

Anyhow, Mom, who lives outside Darien, reminded me 1,033 times this week all there is on local TV news is back to school coverage, unless it’s something happening up in Hilton Head or Bluffton.

Mom knows this because she tunes in about 12 times a day to see if anything worth knowing has happened in the Coastal Empire since 30 minutes ago. In fact, TV news is her Facebook, and should you wonder the reason local network affiliates air local news at 4 a.m., 5 a.m., 6 a.m., 7 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 4 p.m., 5 pm., 6 p.m. and again at 7 p.m., well, it’s for Mom. Sorry.

Editor’s note: Mom may not like back-to-school coverage but she loves coverage of Republicans giving Democrats the sort of comeuppance they usually or always deserve. That and American Ninja. She enjoys a good Ninja competition. And, like me, she loves America, she just wonders why it has to come with so many (rhymes with yankees).

In the meantime, I did my due diligence as far as our in-depth back to school coverage went. First, I went back to a school I have been to before. Second, I asked how it was going.

Good, I was told. Great.

Third, since it was around lunchtime, I asked a principal if kids still liked to hoard those little mustard and ketchup packs the lunchroom ladies gave you with your institutional hotdog and collard greens like they did in my day, so during recess you could stomp them and see how far the condiments would spurt and if you could hit anybody in the ankle. The principal said these days they mostly use grapes.

Anyhow, today reminds me that back in the second or third grade in South Carolina, one of the guys I ate lunch with had a habit of picking his nose with his thumb and index finger and then showing us what he extracted before fastidiously wiping his fingers on his shirt under his armpits (he was in band).

First time it happened I told my mother, who was happy I was not her kid so she didn’t have to wash his shirts.

I also told this to my wife, recently, and she said she was also glad I am not him so she doesn’t have to wash my shirts. Except my wife does not wash shirts she does not agree with, and if I leave my belt in my pants it’ll be a cold day in you know where before I get my pants or my belt back.

She learned that in home ec, apparently.

Whitten is editor of the Bryan County News. He’s mostly fun to be around.

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