80s, 90s, Blog, League — August 21, 2013 4:39 pm

Back to School

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Back to school, back to school…
This week, The League of Extraordinary Bloggers has us going back to school. While our school days are long behind us, some remnants have remained.


Where I’m from, school starts the day after Labor Day, which means I got a nice long summer vacation and didn’t have to wake up at any respectable hour in August. This worked out pretty well, except that my birthday would always fall during the first week (and even worse—in seventh grade it was the first day!) of school.

It was always a bummer going back, but at least I was able to celebrate the weekend after school started with all my friends. Funfetti cake, POGs, Sailormoon action figures—these were all helpful in easing the pain of facing school on my birthday.

One thing I definitely took for granted in my secondary and post-secondary education days was how exciting school supplies were. In university, I bought spiral notebooks and stole pens from my office job (this was just before laptops in classrooms really took off). In grade school? Fucking awesome pens, pencils, and erasers.

Hey, is that the Bubbletape lady?

Seventh grade was pretty great in that we could finally use pens in class. I didn’t waste this opportunity and stocked up on BIC Wavelength pens. In addition to the standard blue, black, and red, I was hooked up with turquoise, purple, and pink inks. Did I mention that my Wavelength pens changed colors?! Because they totally did—like a Hypercolor shirt, some Wavelength pens changed colors with the user’s body heat. Why did they stop making those things?

The most extreme pencils you will ever use!

Before we could use pens in class, we were smearing graphite all over the damned place. Pencils needed to be jazzed up and Yikes stepped up to the plate. These things had cool erasers attached to them, crazy designs and colors, lots of texture—so extreme!

Not as cool but passable: those mushroom-shaped erasers for the tops of pencils.

Erasers weren’t just for erasing. Nowadays you probably have some ugly white eraser or just make do with whatever eraser came on top of your pencil (but not the ones on Yikes pencils). Erasers were a status symbol. If you had cool erasers, you were cool. If you were the one person in the class with an ugly white eraser… well, at least your classmates were talking to you, even if it was only because they messed up their math homework.

Status: totally radical seventh grader!

Yikes also made erasers, which weren’t as cool as the character or food-based erasers, but it was a more grown-up eraser without having to embrace the boring and more reasonably-priced erasers. They came two in a package, which meant double the awesome.


Speaking of erasers, remember the brain eraser?  You know, the expensive one that came inside a plastic brain case that broke apart to reveal a mushy green glob?  After school supplies trips through several grades, I finally convinced my mom that it was the only eraser I needed.  As it turns out, owning it was more of a punishment than a stroke of awesome.  The brain blob collected all kinds of dirt, paper fringe, and bits of pencil lead.  In fact, it grew so exponentially in size (due to all the garbage fragments morphing together) that at one point I had some Muppet Babies fantasy that convinced me the eraser was the evil creature from the old sci-fi classic The Blob.

As if that weren’t scary enough, The Blob brain didn’t even function as an eraser!  It just smudged all the tiny bits of trash onto my homework assignments.  I was stuck with it throughout the entire school year, so I really had to make the tiny erasers at the top of Bic mechanical pens last.  Even the cool brain shaped case was lousy, as it fell apart too often to make practical use of it with X-Men figures.

At least, the Internet has done everyone a favor by providing no image of the brain eraser.  If you really want to envision it, just imagine a strange combination of Silly Putty and that brain from Cranium.

braineraser01Use your imagination.

That’s all in the past, though.  Erasers, school book stores, and milk cartons featuring Waldo may bring back nostalgic memories, but there is a giant plus side of back to school season that I am just now appreciating as an adult: small crowds.

School just started back this week and it’s as if someone flipped a switch that suddenly cut highway traffic in half.  Movies aren’t selling out at the theater.  Restaurants no longer have a crowd.  Best of all, though, roller coaster lines are non-existent!

diamondback01230 feet of solo riding bliss at 80mph.

A ride that may have had an hour wait last week can likely be boarded this week in less than five minutes.  While short lines and small attendance may not be great for the economy, it certainly gets me out of the house more often.

Yep, back to school season is even better than it was twenty years ago.


What’s going on elsewhere in The League?:

The Nerd Nook counts down his favorite “School” movies

The Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang recollects some fond school memories including the Trapper Keeper!

AEIOU and Sometimes Why shares his high school notebook and makes us hungry with photos of lunchpals and coordinating Thermoses. Thermosi? Soup holders.

The Truthful Liar gets all olfactory on us!


  • Oooh damn those Yikes pencils were a hit to the nostalgia button! The only downfall were the grooved version because they always left indents on my fingers after an hour of hardcore doodling.
    On the more adult side of things the end of summer does indeed thin the pack as far as crowds go. Also the teenagers all disappear until around 4 for the most part. Get off my lawn!

  • Two of my favorite things as well – short lines at the roller coasters and buying school supplies. I enjoyed reading this. Brought me back.

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