With the passage of time one becomes hard pressed to recall recently recollected, readily remembered reminisces (hidden pirate code “Arrr”) of our elementary years. Memorable moments measured in mere minutes (Mmmmm — yummy sentencing?) become fewer and farther between. Some of us may hold onto more than others. But of the relatable instances universally shared amidst the masses, two moments stand out.
The first of these being those magical Christmas mornings of childhood. More specifically, the sparse seconds that exist between waking and that of seeing the presents awaiting under the tree. The second is the longest 3 minutes of your young life, watching anxiously as a wall clock slowly ticks away. Slowly counting down the last 180 seconds, of the last day of school, before merciful dismissal for summer vacation.
Why 3 minutes? Because anything “just 5 more minutes” and above only begins to apply when you want more time. When you’re a kid, when it comes down to the wire of waiting for something you’ve longed for and looked forward to, it’s always 3 minutes. And it’s the feel of those last long-drawn 3 minutes till summer that shock rocker Alice Cooper admittedly sought and successfully captured in song.
“No more pencils, no more books! No more teacher’s dirty looks, yeah! Well, we got no class, and we got no principals, and we got no innocence… we can’t even think of a word that rhymes.
School’s out for summer! School’s out forever! Out for summer… out ‘til fall… we might not come back at all! School’s out forever! School’s out for summer!” Lyrics excerpted from the signature song “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper, from his fifth album of the same name, released on April 26, 1972. 3… 2… 1 and… they’re off! Leaping from desks. Bolting from classrooms. “We don’t need no education!” (Does that double negative imply a need for education?) Racing down the… “NO RUNNING IN THE HALL!!!” speed walking down the hallways.
Emptying lockers or cubbies. Perhaps pausing just long enough to deposit book bag contents into an overflowing 50 gallon can. Or taking it all home to have a 1st day of summer weiner/marshmallow roast over its remains (After doting parents lay claim to a few precious moments).
Recycle school supplies? How many years did that same Trapper Keeper return? (Now a nostalgic, valuable collector’s item). Hold onto the half-filled notebook journal… for a keepsake? Figure it out later dude, for now — board the magic bus to FREEDOM!!! (It’s only magic when it’s leaving school).
Escape from the halls of learning achieved. Now what to do with this newfound, albeit temporary, freedom? (Insert deep sigh of reflection here). Ah, those first few days of summer. When you either had no idea what to do with yourself or knew exactly what to do but it just didn’t take as long to do it as you thought it would. When the hours stretched out to the verge of monotony, but there were never enough of them in the day.
Activity is irrelevant (in some cases literally) and what to do is unimportant. What’s important is the freedom to do it or not do anything. At least for the next 2 ½ months and then, tragically, it all resets and begins anew. All-too-soon it’s back to the “first day of school” to do it all over again… and again… and again for at least 12 years. (Drop-out to GED or college scholarship ratio pending).
By the time of the 3-minute countdown, on the twelfth year’s end, eleven summers will have passed. Equating roughly 2 years, 3 months and 14 days of freedom- the end of it and most likely all you will ever get.
But isn’t this the final escape? Isn’t school out forever? Aren’t we finally free?
Yes, unless you pursue higher education, school is indeed finally out forever. But free? Free to do what exactly? Grow up, get a job, work every day till you retire, get rich or die trying?
How was going to school really different from holding down a steady job? Still on someone else’s schedule, teacher = supervisor, grades = paycheck, no homework but no summer vacation either. How is it better? It’s not, but that’s life. Enjoy it for what it is and realize school is never really out.
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Hope to hear from ya until then try and stay focused! See ya.