March 1996

Once upon a time, in Ms. Stegall's room full of ginger cookies, students were told they would sometime have kids. An assignment was given: that kid is about to enter great wonderful TJ; please write the frosh-to-be a letter.

Dear That Kid,

So you're going to Jefferson, eh? Hah! It's a great place. Did I mention I'm done and you still have four years of work left? I'm sure you'll have a great time - just make sure you do all your work for POeT. Those technology principles - man, they're important. Very important. If you ever need to get from here to there and have nothing but a mousetrap at your disposal, you'll be kissing the ground you walk on in gratefulness for having taken pot. Just don't inhale the, um, epoxy; it's bad for you. Now, TJ can be a traumatic place, so if you ever need to call home, feel free. Just be sure not to use anything but the pay phones. Every time you use a phone in a teacher's room you're taking away from AT&T's income, thus stunting our nation's economical growth and doing a disservice to your fatherland. So don't. Even just thinking about it is bad. Be prepared for lots of speeches, lectures and monologues by various authority figures. You should pay attention to most, but don't bother listening to Dr. Yock - not because she's wrong mind you, but because I'm about to tell you right now what she's going to tell you on a regular basis. You're bad. Bad. Just BAD. Don't you forget that, because your assistant principal knows best - except for me of course. That should be enough to survive on, but since I want you to really make the most of your time, I'll give you some more pointers about life at TJ. Note that I said life at TJ. Also note that I am now communicating with you by letter. That's because you'll never see home again until you come back on college vacation four and a half years from now. (Stop crying, I need you to pay attention to the pointers I'm about to give you). Once you've been submerged in the preppie atmosphere long enough to want to be a lawyer and once you have taken AP government so you know how to be one, park on the access road. I guarantee you will soon find yourself in a local court having a wonderful lawyer-practice-session trying to get someone or something to pay for your newly stolen car radio. Hmm. Do not note that I said 'car' and 'your' in the same sentence - it was a mistake. You can have your own car once your income is large enough to pay for both it and my retirement. Pointer number two: Mr. Slovosky knows everyone. In fact, he's studying satellite photographs of your intermediate school right now so he can recognize you from way up in his office as you try to flee the building during school. You can't leave, so don't even try. Don't worry though, there's plenty of pizza in the cafeteria. There aren't any nutrition labels on them, since those only get put on food, but I'm sure it's healthy anyway. Besides, if you don't fear the evils of Yellow #5, either due to your gender or because you know yellow is too wussy a color to cause any harm, you can live quite well off of MelloYello and Twinkies. Mmm, Twinkies. Well, I think I'm going to go grab a byte (oops, I've been at TJ too long) to eat. Talk to later,


Your Wonderful Parental Unit

P.S. Always carry your TI with you. You never know when you might want to invert a matrix or calculate the derivative of your GPA.

© Lorrin Nelson
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