August is Back to School Month

August is Back to School Month

We have a front door and in front of that, a heavy screen door that locks with a bolt. Most days we have the front door open. This allows for a nice flow of air through the screen door, except in the summer when we would really appreciate it.

I don’t know much about air and how much it weighs, but you definitely need a shovel to move it in August. Without a shovel, most of the August air just piles up outside and we can barely push through it to get to the car.

I like having a screen door, but it does have disadvantages, mainly if someone shows up at your door unannounced and sees you sitting in the living room, it’s hard to pretend you’re not home. My boyfriend has a friend who likes to show up unannounced. If I’m lucky enough to get a glimpse of him coming up the walkway, I’ll hide behind the sofa until he goes away. Hiding behind the sofa is not an effective long-term solution though, because friends who show up unannounced are like mice. You pretty much have to kill them to get rid of them.

The advantage of the screen door is that you can talk to people through it without ever having to unlock and open the door, which is particularly useful when dealing with door-to-door salesmen, and sometimes even your mother. I don’t get many door-to-door salesmen anymore unless you count missionaries, and to be fair, they’re not technically “selling” salvation.

Once in a while a young kid comes around selling candy. He always wears a plastic-laminated badge around his neck that’s supposed to look official, but never does. He says he’s sells candy for a non-profit organization that works to keep at-risk kids, like him, off the street. I don’t really believe the story and he doesn’t seem to either. I always buy some candy even though it’s ridiculously overpriced because I feel sorry for the kid. I’m pretty sure he’s mixed up in some sort of child labor ring, but I don’t have any proof, and it seems rude to ask.

I’ve read about businesses like this where somebody hires a bunch of kids, shuttles them around to different neighborhoods to sell candy door-to-door, and then pays the kids a commission, usually a couple bucks for every box of candy they sell. Laws vary from state to state, but “for-profit” door-to-door sales are illegal just about everywhere for kids under the age of 16.

I unlock the screen door and open it to hand him a five. “I’ll take a Reese’s,” I say.

I want to say something else, something like, “Stay in school and study hard,” but it isn’t really my business. And as my college-aged nephew is quick to point out, “Steve Jobs dropped out of school.”

It’s hard to make an argument for school these days when you can learn just about everything from YouTube and Wiki, including important stuff like how to play beer pong without a table. I have two degrees and still don’t know the answer to “Why is the sky blue?” So when my niece asks me, I just shoot back with “Why are we even here?” which is a lot to hit a first-grader with.

“Hey,” I say, as he heads down the walkway, “If you want to earn some money, you can come back tomorrow and shovel some air.” He looks at me like I’m crazy and I lock myself back in.