What To Expect In A Crowded Middle School Gym On A Saturday Afternoon

1.  Pickles.

Concession stands at schools love to sell pickles.  Not the circular kind that go on hamburgers.  Those are free.  No, I’m talking about the huge ones that look like green bananas.  Is there any other place on the entire planet where one can order just a pickle?

“Yes, the lady will be having the salmon with steamed vegetables and I’ll go with the pickle.”

But what else should we expect from the institutions that gave us pizza, corn, apple sauce and milk for the same meal?

2.  The strong scent of Axe Body Spray.

You’ll notice this on teenage boys who have been made to believe from watching too many MTV commercials that simply spraying this stuff on is a perfectly acceptable substitute for a daily shower and, as a side benefit, all the girls in a 7 mile radius will start a riot trying to be close to them.  The girl thing never happens but what we are left with is a smell that’s a mixture between a meadow on a spring day and the Baltimore Ravens locker room.

3.  The strong scent of Brut.

You can thank the father of the Axe Body Spray kid for this one.  The only major difference with the dad is that he probably did take a shower at some point in the last day or two and rather than scores of teenage girls, he’s happy just impressing one special little lady that looks an awful lot like Reeba McEntire.

4.  Giant headphones.  

This one really caught me off guard.  I remember giant headphones from the 80s.  We had them because Steve Jobs hadn’t hit his peak yet.  It was the best we could do.  Sure, they made you look dumb but, hey, you were listening to Huey Lewis and the News so it all evened out.  Right?  But then, with the emergence of the ipod, headphones became earbuds.  You could hardly notice them.  This made you look cooler and that was a good thing because the music was getting even worse.  When you’re listening to Nickleback, you need all the help you can get.  But now the earbuds have become headphones again. And they’re giant.  If you mix giant headphones with the musical stylings of Drake, you begin to see what’s wrong with today’s kids.  It’s a double fail.

5.  Poorly marked bathrooms.

The men’s room says “boys”.  The ladies room says “girls”.  Obviously, when one sees the letter g on a bathroom door, one automatically assumes that it will be followed by uys.  Never mind the fact that your 5 year old says, “Dad, this is the girls room!” as you’re strolling in.  What does he know anyway?  Not that this happened to me.  Purely hypothetical.

The middle school years were the most difficult of my life.  Now that I’m in my 30s, middle school is even more complicated.

This Saturday, I’m staying at home.