School Registration, or Airport Security in Training

A Really Long LineAirports and Schools have a lot of things in common.  For instance, they both inadvertently fry your brain under the pretense of “for your own good.”

Also, as I recently learned, they are both good at slowing down the most basic procedures.  One of these procedures is known as school registration (which, while it may have occurred weeks ago, is still topical, mainly because I wrote this post and am not planning on wasting it).

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I love school.  I love school almost as much as I love it when a Russian satellite falls out of the sky and adds a new window to my house.  But registration has got a long way to go on the lovability charts.

Maybe you aren’t sure what registration is, so I’ll give you a quick summary: you register for school.  Those four words, though short in length, describe a process so terrible that the major movie corporations ‘beep’ it out.

You know, when you’re watching some outtakes and the actor will mess up their lines:

“You can’t…oh BLEEP [school registration] I forgot the BLEEPING [school registration] lines.  Let’s do this BLEEP [school registration] again.”

However, since I am not in favor of media censorship on this blog, I will describe the terrible process for your benefit.

Warning: Parental Advisory.  Content may not be suitable for parents of all ages.

The Starting Time Mathematical Formula

Having failed at these mathematical calculations twice now, I am definitely qualified enough to explain the formula.  You should arrive (if you want to avoid the lines) at “Scheduled Start Time” – “Twelve Years” = “Prime Arrival Time.”

Got that? You need to show up at least twelve years early to be first in line.  First in line is important, because the difference between the first and last people to finish registration is something like six days.

So, then, continuing with math, you can obviously see the benefit: waiting twelve years for six days = negative 4,377 days of time saved.

The First Line: Schedule

The first line you will come to (unless you got there early) is the line where you will receive your schedule.  It will be organized by alphabetical last name, meaning you should hire a little kid to sing the alphabet for you so you get in the right line.

When you finally reach the front, though, someone else (who was not smart enough to hire an alphabet consultant) will cut ahead of you.  This will be legal because they will have the expressed vocal permission from the volunteer at the table for the other part of the alphabet that they actually need to go in your line, but “just real quick.”

Then, as fate would have it, they will completely forget how to spell their own last name, and it will take them twenty-three minutes to find their schedule (so I’d also recommend bringing dog tags with your personal information so this doesn’t happen to you.  Plus, if you don’t make it out, they’ll know what to do with the body).

Now that you are at the front, you can pick up your schedule and frantically look at it for two (2) things: one (1) do you have any classes that aren’t study hall, late arrival, or early release (if so, try to get out of them) and two (2)(to)(too) do you have any fines, indicated by a black stamp of death that will say something obscure like “Library/Textbook Fine,” “Bad Grades Fine,” or “Misfiling of Tax form IA-17b Fine and/or Jail Time.”

Depending on how fresh the ink is, you could lick this stamp off, but you may die of blood poisoning.  Otherwise, you should bring whiteout and lots of different colors of paper.

The Second Line: Fees and Money

I say “Fees and Money” because the line is where you pay fees but also end up giving money for some things that don’t seem like constitutional fees.  (If you are a frequent flier with over 50,000,000,000 weekly miles, you can skip this line.)

This is the longest line, which means if you have any extra money, you should definitely use a bribe.  I’m not sure who you’d bribe or whether or not it would be effective, but at least the action of losing even more money will take your mind off how long the line is.

When you make it to the front (estimated time: four (4)(for)(fore!) days), you will be directed to a table.  At that table will be a volunteer (serving community service time for fraud and petty theft, fittingly) who will walk you through the fines/fees/other reasons to give them money.

First come the fines that are extras, such as the “Library/Textbook Fine.”  They will pretend to look at a sheet of paper (which is upside-down, if you are paying attention) and then inform you that you forgot to return “The Red Badge of Courage,” probably because you burned it, and that your fine is $300,000 or your Pulmonary Artery (cash, check, or scalpel?).

Then come the regular fees, which are more predictable.  You have to pay for any unusual class materials for art or language classes, such as clay, paints, or live Bulls for Spanish.  You also have to pay for a yearbook (even though you haven’t seen last year’s yearbook yet), a calendar, and a year’s supply of coffee for a teacher.

The Third Line: Textbook Pick-Up

Since your wallet is now empty, you should be strong enough to carry 4-9 textbooks, depending on your classes.

As you enter, a volunteer will look at your schedule and gesture vaguely as to where your textbooks may be, including the ceiling, depending on if that volunteer had coffee that morning or not.

You can drift around, hopelessly lost, until you notice all the labels in big bold letters.  You need to find the labels and pick up them (the labels) according to which classes you have.  To save time, you could also pick up some textbooks.

By the fifth textbook, your arms and back will be dislocated, so you should hand a few (textbooks, not arms) off to your alphabet consultant.  This helps because the textbooks will crush your four-year-old alphabet consultant, letting you avoid paying the three-dollar consulting fee.

Eventually, your textbooks will be scanned by yet another volunteer and you can put them in your locker (which was assigned on your schedule).

Finally, you are done with the majority of registration.  However, there is still a fourth line, known as “Pictures.”

If you plan on starring as the run-away teen in a major TV-show/movie, skip pictures, as it will cut the obvious and unnecessary scene where the FBI guy asks, gesturing in the yearbook, “Is this your kid?” even though we all know the answer.

Otherwise, check back in three days for the low-down/what’s up with school pictures.

Readers: I hate two-part posts that make you wait just as much as you, but this article was getting mighty long, and I’ve got a lot to say about school pictures. These won’t become a regular thing.

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