3 Reasons Why Back to School Shopping is Not Your Friend

Funny picture of various notebooks

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The start of school is always guaranteed to be one of the worst few weeks of your year. Teen morale is so low during this time that it’s been known to actually hit the ocean floor, creating a number of minor but annoying tsunamis.

We all know why, don’t we? Waking up early. Doing homework. Losing freedom. The list goes on forever. Even worse, though, are the things that sneak up on you, like school pictures, new lockers, or back to school shopping.

Before we examine back to school shopping, it’s probably a good idea to define it first. This is important. 27% of all students think that back to school shopping is shopping that you do with your back facing towards the school. That is not correct, although it is an understandable misinterpretation. I know it’s obscure, but back to school shopping is actually shopping that you do when you are preparing to return to school for the year.

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it? That’s just normal shopping, right? Wrong.

The Deals

First of all, you’ve got the incredibly stressful back to school shopping sales. Every office supply place you know of has a back to school sale. Oftentimes every other store you know of is also having a back to school sale, including butchers, auto parts suppliers, and realtors.

You, as a smart consumer, will try to figure out which sale is the best. Finding the best sale is vital to your self-esteem, because having bragging rights of finding the best sale is better than achieving immortality. Plus, it’s better for your wallet, which means it’s better for your parents’ wallet.

But these sales are confusing. Office Depot might have a 6-pack of Ticonderoga pre-sharpened pencils marked down 60%, but Office Max has an 8-pack of Dixon pencils with extra-soft erasers on a buy-one-get-one-free sale. To complicate matters, your friends recommend Dixon, but Ticonderoga has emphasized its quality. Plus, the Ticonderoga pencils are .12 inch longer than the Dixon pencils. But the Dixon pencils have shiny blue foil while the Ticonderoga erasers are a dull green. But the Ticonderoga pencils are calling your name. But the Dixon pencils are singing your favorite song. But the Ticonderoga pencils are trying to shake your hand.

Pretty soon, you’ve got concerned salesmen swarming around you, asking you why you keep running in and out of their store to glance at their pencils. A nice salesman would offer you a towel to wipe up your sweat. They won’t do that.

If you’re not careful, one of them will point out the 12-pack of store-brand pencils that are 45% off. Then it starts again, and again, and again, for notebooks, folders, pens, scissors, even sticky notes. You will have done so much math calculating price-per-unit that you are guaranteed to fail your next math test.

The Navigation

American retail stores are really quite considerate, if you think about it. They understand that the average consumer wants to be able to quickly find what they need. So, the stores reorganize themselves every night after closing, to keep life interesting.

Usually, a major reorganization happens during back to school shopping. You’ll go to where the school supplies normally are, only to find a shelf of kitchen utensils that look like they are made for sculpting granite. You’ll go to the office chair section and find that it’s been taken over by construction paper.

Now, I’m not suggesting that they make the school supply area hard to find. Not at all. You’ll walk through those automatic doors and immediately break your nose on a makeshift cardboard shelf selling erasers. Then you’ll back up to your left and trip over a hand-sanitizer display. If you’re not careful, you’ll have to crawl your way out.

The People

The worst part of back to school shopping is the other shoppers. Most of the time, they’ll be moms or dads with elementary school kids. These are people to watch out for.

First of all, they speed around the store with a metal shopping cart and their head buried in their school supply list. If you value having intact hips, you’ll avoid these dangerous shopping cart drivers.

Secondly, they’ll grab what you need before you can get it, and it’ll turn out to be the last item of its kind. It doesn’t matter that it’s school supply shopping week; the store won’t be getting in another shipment until October 2016.

Most horribly, though, is that they will block the aisle. They will stand in front of every notebook in the store trying to find the one with the shark on the cover. You will try to go around them. They will move into your path because they need to search the next stack. You will to try to go around them the other way. Their kid will step in front of you. So you try to reach over the kid. The kid will violently sneeze on the notebook you were about to grab. You can’t win.

It doesn’t matter if you normally like to shop; school supply shopping is depressing, stressful, and horrible. There is only one thing that makes it worthwhile: the gum at the end of the checkout line.

If you’re more worried about your new school locker, you might want to check out “3 Ways to Break in Your New Locker,” published at this time last year. Want a personalized feel? Read on.

5 Phone Apps for Teens that Someone Needs to Make

the gum locator appSmartphones. Where would we be without them? I’ll tell you where I’d be: I’d be in the middle of a country back road in a car, utterly lost and starving to death. My stomach would be slowly digesting itself and I would be feverish, delirious, and hallucinatory from lack of water. And worst of all, I’d have no idea what my friends were saying on Facebook.

After all, our phones can do a lot of things. They are calculators, maps, games, news headlines, and, most importantly, teen status symbols. However, there are some vital functions that our phones have yet to acquire.

Obviously, our phones will never be able to talk to us. Oh, wait, sorry, I forgot about SIRI. What I mean is, our phones will never be able to understand us as humans. Except for every music app that suggests songs for your tastes. Okay, look, our phones will NEVER be able to never drop calls.

Since technology is advancing at such a fast rate, though, I figure that all I need to do is mention some new advancement and then try to have the patience to wait for a few milliseconds until it is invented.

With that in mind, here are 5 Apps that someone, possibly you, but probably not, more likely your friend, but still not that likely, or maybe your school nerd, slightly more likely, or a programmer, very likely, or Google, 1,000% likely, needs to make.

1. Bad Song Eliminator

Our phones are already genius when it comes to music (pun for those of you who catch it. If you don’t, either accept that you are inadequate or go here). But we all have songs we hate, whether it’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Baby,” or “Fruit Salad.” Even worse, though, is the fact that because the gray thing impersonating our brain during our teen years hates us, the song will instantly be stuck in your head. This means you will be unable to function for the next hour or so, as you can’t do anything but sing the song you hate. Leading to many awkward situations, such as:

Police Officer: Did you know you were weaving in and out of lanes 20 miles over the speed limit?

You: Well, uh…Fruit salad! Yummy, yummy!

And this is why our smartphones need to be able to not only predict when a song we dislike is coming on, but also stop us from hearing it. Whether that entails emitting noise-silencing waves, blasting our own music louder, or extending a little rocket launcher from the camera lens and completely obliterating the offending radio/friend’s iPod/stereo system/street musician, this is one app we all need.

2. Gum Sensor

We all know what the problem is: we don’t have enough gum. It doesn’t matter if we have so much gum in our mouth that we can’t breath; we still don’t have enough gum. Also, that’s why we have noses.

The science in this one is simple. Just take a teen brain and stuff it inside the smartphone (it’ll fit, with room to spare). Then, just give the phone x-ray vision, an enhanced sense of smell, and supersonic hearing. It will thus be impossible for anyone to conceal opening gum, buying gum, chewing gum, getting out gum, throwing gum, and all-around enjoying gum without you noticing. After that, just ask them for some.

3. Homework Excuse Voicemail Imitator

Sure, you’ve got a few perfected homework excuses that rarely fail. But why risk it? Wouldn’t it be so much better if you had a voicemail from your parents? For example:

“Hi, this is your mom/dad. I’m just calling to let you know that I took your dog to the vet this morning and after extensive surgery, he is now fine. In case you’re interested, although I doubt this is an important detail, the problem was that your 5,000 word essay on the humanity of Odysseus was clogging his small intestine, big intestine, throat, mouth, nose, and appendix. Oh, they also removed his appendix, because apparently dogs aren’t supposed to have those. Call me back when you get home.”

Or:

“Hey, son/daughter, just so you know, the insurance people came and offered to pay for all the damage that the fire, which was caused by the short-circuiting of the wireless part of the wireless remote for the TV. Sadly, it looks like we will be unable to salvage the science experiment that you’ve been working on since four months before you were a fetus. Call me back when you get a chance, please.”

Essentially, this app would come with an endless supply of perfect voicemail messages just like these, and would even act like your voicemail. If your teacher tried to call the number back, it would go to a pre-recorded message saying that the phone was unavailable.

4. Book Summarizer

We’ve all been in that terrible situation where our teacher decides to assign 300 pages of reading due the next day. Most of us won’t read it. The rest of us will read the first and 300th pages and make up our own versions of what happens in-between. But what if your phone could read it and then summarize it for you?

Now, I’m not talking about the sparknotes or shmoop quality of summaries. I mean a valuable, in-depth summary that is shorter than 5 words, that also incorporates all elements of symbolism and literary devices. Additionally, it would include the page number and position on the page of where to place sticky notes, so that you can make it look like you really read. Furthermore, this would work on all texts, from your English novel to your chemistry book.

Of all these apps, this is the one that I would be willing to give my three smallest toes for*.

*That is an exaggeration for comic value. (I’m throwing in this disclaimer so that no one will invent this and then show up at my house with a knife and jar of toes. Please, I’d rather have another visit from some Jehovah Witnesses).

5. Irrational Anxiety Fixer

One fun part of having a brain that works hard to destroy you emotionally, physically, and mentally as a teenager is that it is constantly making you doubt yourself. For instance, is your pencil really #2 pencil? What if your SAT results are cancelled?

Or, what if you changed your clocks the wrong way for daylight savings time? What if you turned your clock so far backwards in time that you get eaten by a velociraptor on the way to school?

Sometimes, a friend will reassure us. “Don’t be crazy,” they’d say, “A velociraptor? Really? OH MY GOD DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU!”

But, as you can see, it is more likely that a friend (if they are a true friend) will simply make fun of us. Therefore, we should be able to turn to our phone. At the touch of a screen, it should read us calming statements, read by calming people like the AllState insurance guy, such as: “Don’t worry. Whatever it is, it can’t be worse than having to make a living selling insurance to people over the TV.”

And now, as it so usually happens at the end of posts, it is time for a conclusion. There isn’t much to say, because it’s not as if I have some profound theme I am going to touch upon, like “Those who want what they don’t have don’t have what they want if they don’t want what they have or don’t have what they wanted to not have.”

Huh. That’s pretty good, if I do say so myself. I think I’ll stop there.

(Please ignore the deep theme. It does not belong on this blog and is a result of too many English classes).

On a lighter note, are there any apps that you think belong on this list?

Also, just a reminder: we’d really love it if you’d like our Facebook page. And a big thanks to those who have already done so or are about to do so.

10 More Things You Absolutely Have to do This Summer

Just a picture of a squash gameI’m sure we’ve all heard the famous saying that goes something like, “Live as if you’ll die tomorrow, learn as if you’ll live forev-ackchk! Unnnnhhhh….”

As that saying so aptly illustrates, nobody lives forever. Which means you will eventually die. Which means you won’t be alive. Which means you will only have a limited number of summer vacations to enjoy, not to mention summer vacations during your teen years. (If this were a DirecTV commercial, the next sentence would be: “Don’t eventually die. Ditch cable and become immortal. Also buy DirecTV.”).

Being a blog run by teens who have your best interests at heart*, we’re going to make sure you make the most of your summer by giving you a checklist of 10 things you have to do. (For last year’s ever-popular list, click here).

*Or at least we would, if teen brains could handle using a heart to both pump blood and be compassionate at the same time.

1) TP a Toilet Paper Company

First, let me set the record straight: this blog does not encourage illegal activities. However, we can tell you to ‘tee-pee’ a toilet paper company for a few reasons.

For one thing, the irony of it is strong enough that no court of law would be able to remain orderly long enough to prosecute you. Secondly, nobody actually knows where to find toilet paper companies. I mean, when’s the last time you were driving through an industrial district and saw a factory belching black smoke into the air while thinking: “Hey, I bet all that black smoke is a byproduct of toilet paper manufacturing.” And, finally, most toilet paper companies are guarded by their mascots, so unless you plan on taking on a few full-grown Charmin grizzly bears, you won’t even get close.

2) Learn to Play Squash

I don’t have any idea what country you come from, so maybe you already know how to play squash. If so, what kind of freak are you? Just kidding. You can stop reading this section and move on to number three. (Now that all the squash players are no longer reading this: thank god we got rid of those squash-playing freaks for a few seconds).

Chances are, though, that you don’t have any idea how to play squash. Summer is the optimal time to learn. I have absolutely no idea how squash is played, although I assume it involves a squash and possibly a legume or leafy-green as well. Regardless, I’m sure it’s fun, healthy, and well worth your time. Besides, you’ll become a great comedian: you can walk into a party, declare that, “I’m a squash player,” and watch everyone break out laughing.

3) Travel to an Unknown Land

Yes, that sounds quite mysterious. And quite awesome. Whether your unknown land is the forest behind your house, your attic, your bedroom closet, or the forest growing in the attic of your bedroom closet, unknown lands contain hours of entertainment. And, as the documentary Avatar showed us, unknown lands also often contain 10 foot-tall blue people who would be great to have on your team in a street basketball game.

4) Start a Sign-Making Business

Chances are, if you are now in high school or have already graduated, you once learned cursive in elementary school. Now, I have no idea why they decided to teach us cursive (or script); I only know that I really wish I hadn’t spent hours of my life slaving away at my capital G’s, which looked more like a small boat than a ‘G.’

However, I’ve got good news! I’ll bet that now that I’ve reminded you, you are the only one in your entire town who knows that you know cursive. Sure, other people may have learned, but they have wiped those painful memories from their minds. This means that you can open up a sign-making business without competition and make MILLIONS! Of Chilean Pesos! Some people may pay you in dollar bills, but it’ll add up to MILLIONS! Of Chilean Pesos!

5) Do Art

The nice thing about this is, you can do pretty much anything and call it art, thus making yourself feel more sophisticated than you actually are. That recycling bin you just compacted? That’s now a piece of art. The way you just got a triple-head-shot-nuke-bonus-multiplier-boost-powerup in that really popular nonviolent* video game? That was a beautiful piece of performance art.

*Nonviolent meaning nobody who plays the video game dies. Trust me, some games are violent. Take that “Cooking Mama: Cook Off” game, for example. The rivalry that game creates between the two players has lead to multiple assault crimes being committed.

6) Try a New Food

I know this will be hard for us teen boys – we’ve probably already tried most foods that exist, including moldy cake (‘cause cake doesn’t go bad) and earthworm. However, new experiences are always enlightening, so strive to find a food you have yet to eat. Personally, I’d recommend you check out your vegetable garden. After all, I’ll bet you’ve never had a banana-slug split (that’s no BS. That’s BSS – banana-slug split. Okay, put the baseball bat – or BSBB – away, I’ll stop, I’ll stop.).

7) Attend a Convention

For some reasons, conventions are a big deal amongst adults. To teens, though, it’s basically like willingly paying to attend school after you’ve graduated from college.

However, conventions do have their positives. For one, they often have a lot of free stuff handed out by people who think that giving you free stuff will make you want to buy more of their stuff…even though they are handing it out for free. Also, conventions allow you to keep your rubber-band shooting skills sharp over the summer.

8) Make A Modern Lemonade Stand

This is actually pretty easy to do. You just need a table, a tablecloth, and some cups. Lemonade is a bonus, but that’s really just for show. You see, thanks to modern advertising guidelines, you can say whatever you want as long as you make it true with an “*”.

So, have a sign that says “LEMONADE STAND: 25¢ a cup*,” and then just add this, in really small print (or better yet, cursive, because nobody remembers how to read that anymore either), “*cup does not have lemonade in it.”

9) Invent a New Pool Dive

The swan. The cannonball. The belly flop. The movie hero stunt double. What do these all have in common? They’re all unoriginal ways to dive into a pool.

Chances are, you’ll be swimming at some point this summer, unless you are too busy playing squash (although I bet you can play squash, like basketball, in a pool). In that case, you will need an original way to dive into the pool. Some places to start could be the “rhinoceros,” the “trash compactor,” the “killer duck,” and the “vice principal.”

10) Visit Your State Capitol

The nice thing about summer is that you have a few months off from school. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. No, it could be a few years off from school, or even a few millennia.

So, if you live close by, are going to drive by, or plan to hijack a delivery van, you should visit your state capitol. See if you can persuade the lawmakers to extend summer vacation, using your high school persuasive techniques like bribes (“I’ll give you gum”), threats (“I’ll never give you gum again”), and peer pressure (have everyone angrily chew gum and stare at the person to intimidate them).

11) The All-In-One Fun

Yes, I know I said ten. But this isn’t really an eleventh idea; it is only a solution to having a fulfilling summer for those of you too busy doing nothing to take the time and do everything on this list separately.

First, you need to drive by your supermarket and pick up a squash. Chances are, since it’s a vegetable, you’ve never tried it before, so it’s a new food. Then, use the squash rinds and the squash that you spit out/vomited to play some form of a sport. After that, travel to the unknown depths of a craft store, watching out for serial crafters who would willingly kidnap you so they could force you to admire their crafting ability, and pick up some pens and cardboard.

Then, make a sign outside your state capitol building for a lemonade stand offering free cups(*, of course) to any legislator willing to extend summer vacation. Celebrate your inevitable victory against school re-starting by traveling to a Toilet Paper company with your state-legislator groupies and TP’ing it. Take a bunch of photos of your work when it’s finished; this is probably some new genre of modern art.

Next, when the state legislators realize that these photos are probably going to ruin their political career and attempt to grab your camera, push them into a nearby pool and invent the “floundering government official” pool dive. Finally, attend a convention on how to avoid being convicted for crimes by a grand jury.

10 things. More than ten days of summer. You should be able to procrastinate and still do them all. If you are really good at cramming, you might even repeat some of last year’s list of 10 Things You Absolutely Have to Do this Summer. Me, well, I’m busy warming up my toilet paper-throwing/squash-playing arm.

3 Ways to Become a More Obnoxious Teen

yes of course this is obnoxiousTeens are famous for many things, from being unintelligent to being less intelligent than a bowl of kasha varnishkus. Teens are also famous for being obnoxious. Just as singers develop their voice (notice that singers are famous for having a good voice), teens must develop their ability to be obnoxious.

But what if you were born without this obnoxious gene? What if you don’t have the ability to induce ulcers and strokes in those around you? Well, then, I’ve got good news for you: you might be an intelligent ape, or, more likely, a very evolved flea. In which case, you just need to worry about either a) eating fleas, or, b) not getting eaten by apes.

However, by using simple addition, I’ve deduced that you are probably a teen, or, at least a human, if you read this blog. (The addition is as follows: title of blog, “High School Humor Blog” + “You” = “HSHBY”, or “Humans Standing H-united,” pronounced ‘united,’ “for the Betterment of Yetii,” or the plural form of Yeti. If you’d join an organization like that, you are probably a teen).

And so, regardless of the current level of your obnoxiety-skills, they can always serve to be improved. After all, how do you get to Carnegie Hall? Faith, hope, and pixie dust. (That, right there, is a good example of an obnoxious joke).

Blast your Tunes

If you walk into a room with your music up loud, and people turn their heads towards you, their faces morphing into an expression of disgust, then you are failing miserably at being a teenager. Your music needs to be so loud that people are already watching the door when you walk in, because they can hear your music from three rooms away.

You can accomplish this a few ways. You could blast music from your earphones/headphones, but unless you want it to sound like the artist recorded their song inside of a tin can during an earthquake, you’re going to need some better equipment.

I’d recommend that you at least bring small, portable speakers around, hidden in your pockets. You can also bring one of those suitcases that is a massive speaker around with you. Heck, you might as well just learn to play a few instruments, such as the drums, synth, and “auto-tune,” and play live, LOUD music.

Whatever you choose, make sure to still leave your earbuds in your ears for effect, even though they aren’t actually plugged in to anything. I’m not even kidding when I say that other teens will find it ‘cool’ and be envious of the volume you can tolerate; it ties back to primordial instincts. Teens assume that anyone who can listen to loud noises must have a smaller brain, so that it is farther away from the sound. Of course, having a small brain is considered a good thing, because it means you’ve got less to worry about when you inevitably hurt your head fighting/thinking/opening the cupboard.

Wear Annoying Clothes

Sure, you might normally wear jeans, but have you ever worn tie-die neon magenta and puke green jeans? How about a T-shirt that says, “You don’t know Diddley?” If not, you’ve been dressing wrong your entire life.

Your clothes need to make a statement louder than your music. They should blind others. You should walk down the street and people should stop, point, and shout, “It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…walking toward me! AHHHHHHhhhhhhhhh…..”

But it’s hard to constantly dress like this; that’s why I’m here to help. First of all, never buy conventional colors. This means no blue jeans, no white socks, no brown belts, and no gray T-shirts (unless they say something like “I make it look easy”). Place random holes, loops of metal, and patches on your clothes. Walk by a mirror on your way out the door every morning-if it doesn’t instantly shatter, than you aren’t wearing obnoxious enough clothes.

Develop an Obnoxious Habit

Maybe it’s a burp. Maybe it’s an abnormally high-pitched laugh. Maybe it’s pausing like Obama does…between every…few words. Whatever it is, it’s got to be annoying. It’s got to draw out the veins on the foreheads of those around you faster than, say, Lebron James taking his talents to the New York Giants or the Boston Bruins in the hopes that he’ll finally get a ring.

If you really have no idea where to take this, than you could try to:
• Constantly interrupt others with “Yeah, okay, but who cares?”
• Make your gum more visible than your entire face
• Call everyone you meet “bro,” “dude,” or “homeboy”
• Spit your gum onto other people’s faces while interrupting with “Yeah, homeboy, but, like, dude, who cares?”

I’m not even going to give you a conclusion. Instead, I’ll leave you with a cliffhanger, just to be obnoxious: Knock, knock. Who’s there? It’s-

If that cliff hanger left you wanting more, than here’s a (less-obnoxious) post from last year at this time: Attack of the Metaphors. Want to know why cheerios are metaphors? Read on.