Real Life 101

By Kellie Head

While agonizing with my son over his junior year elective choices, I found myself reminiscing about the high school lessons I had learned, and which of them actually transferred into “real” life.

My mother felt it would be beneficial to take a Home Economics course. Although I didn’t share her zest for a Singer, I learned to baste, hem and darn, and all of those other tasks I can never admit to mastering. If word leaks out, the PTA will rope me into sewing troop 215’s Cub Scout patches and volunteer me to design costumes for the First grade Salute to the 50 States play.

I chose German over Spanish, but frankly, after spending my days with a toddler, I’d find Jabber 101 more useful. I can’t say learning conversational German was a total waste, though. When Hogan’s Heroes plays on Nick-at-Nite, I always know what Clink and Schultz are planning before Hogan romances it out of the secretary.

On the surface, you’d think that Introduction to Accounting would transfer into my adult life quite nicely. After all, they teach you accounts payable and accounts receivable, along with general ledger fundamentals, but juggling my checkbook after monthly expenses and unexpected incidentals finds me in need of Creative Bookkeeping instead. I can never understand how I can be out of money when I still have checks.

The only failing mark I ever received in school was in my Typing class. In my defense, manual typewriters led the way in technology in those days. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pales in comparison to the Tennis Elbow that those contraptions produce. And I can’t count how many times I caught my fingers between the keys. As luck would have it, Keyboarding 101 replaced Typing101… the year after I graduated.

Abnormal Psychology was an interesting class, but it scared the daylights out of me. Like any first year Psych. student, I analyzed everyone in my path and diagnosed the majority as schizophrenic. On the plus side, I love to sling some of the Freudian theories at my husband when the tides shift and I find myself losing an argument.

I opted for Zoology as my Science requirement. It wasn’t that I had a passion for animal life, but it was common knowledge that the Zoology instructor was cute. That’s reason enough for any teenage girl. The only thing my 20 female classmates and I learned that semester was lightning round make-up application. By the blare of the tardy bell we were painted, perfumed and ready to give his lectures our undivided attention.

CPR filled my Health course requirement. The coach strongly recommended it for the football and basketball teams, so it became an absolute requirement for any 16-year-old girl who desired a social life. My dreams of being rescued by the quarterback were doused by Resusci-Annie (the CPR dummy), who played the part of the damsel in distress.

Overall, my high school curriculum has enriched every aspect of my life. I regret that I didn’t apply myself and learn more. And when my son inevitably asks, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

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