How to Be a Dad

How to Be a Dad

Our First Day of High School

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My Kid's First Day of High School

Andy Herald in school at age 12Me at age 12. Look at how much I adored school. (Click to look closer at the love.)

Why would I say this was our first day of High School, you ask? You came to the right person! I mean me. Anyways, you see, I never went to High School. Not one day. I left school early and went to work in design and did tutoring and blah, blah, blah. Throw in a few swear words with the blahs and that about sums up my personal relationship with formalized education. Oil and water don’t mix. But school and I were more like gasoline and soap chips, which mix just fine… to create napalm. So yeah.

That’s why dropping my son off to his first day of High School was more than your average parental surreal. It was completely unreal.

I’m not really someone any parent should talk to about education. Sure, I’ll bob my head and and smile at all the right parts, but really, I’m a subversive non-conformist who would rather have walked the psychotically mandatory two circuits around a block before entering any building with Nicola Tesla than sit in any class. Yep. He had to do that. And you know what? Ball lighting is what!!! Ball f##king lighting! I’d have skipped anything and walked a block or two for that.

In a way I’ve sired little saboteurs; thinkers. They ask questions and disagree and challenge things they’re being taught. KaBOOM! Their grades are good, and I don’t even care about grades. It’s really hard to look some of their frantic teachers in the eyes. They all work so hard. But then there are those that smile at me after they look at my sons, and I smile back wider.

But now I’m here with my son, Cody. Fourteen years old. Dropping him off to begin experiences I don’t even have on my own hard drive. Stuff I only saw in John Hughes films.

All I could think of to say before he closed the car door was…

Choose Your Friends Wisely Or Don't Choose them at all

Cody First Day of High School drop offCody looks ready to tackle the world. Tackle it and use it as pillow to nap on.

He completed my statement himself. His own words. I smiled so big and laughed proudly. In that one exchange, we both knew I’d done a good job and possibly conceived a pretty rad message t-shirt together on top of it all.

Afterwards, when I asked him how the day went, he got all eloquent and long-winded like teenagers do, and said, “Good.”

After some coaxing (like getting Pandas to breakdance on each other in captivity), I got out of him that it really did go well. Aaaaaaaaand that he got stabbed with a pencil by a mentally-challenged kid. … Right?!? Same reaction from me, too! WTF gravy drizzled on a 12oz Holy S##t steak! But he went on to say it was nothing/an accident/just playing and I swelled again with pride that Cody was chillin’ with a handicapped kid. I had done well. About the things that matter. Somehow.

He showed me the mark under his skin where he’d been jabbed and said he hoped it would go away. I held up both my hands and told him not to hold his breath. I’m an artist and a klutz; single dot graphite tattoos are a given.

So that was our first day of High School. If you look back at the top of this post you’ll see my son walking into the bright light of an epic new beginning. If you look at where he’s looking, it might be fairer to say that the aim of his head is directed at the girls and friends he might know… what can I say, possibly more important than Trigonometry in terms of his life. We’ll see. It’s his life.


Instructional Diagrams
Have a look at what my lack of education has resulted in.

Get an A in Facebook
Easiest test ever. Just like us and read comic books in class.


28 Responses to “Our First Day of High School”

  1. Ann says:

    ahh the years go by so fast in High School.You will get a few grey hairs out of it as well. But sounds as though you have done an awesome job πŸ™‚ My son (18) is a lot like you were. He made it. He graduated. Great post, made me smile this morning– Ann

    • Andy says:

      So you mean MORE grey hairs than I have now, right? And by “a few” you must be using the Olde English scale which equals an arse tonne. (sigh)

      Good for you,and helping your son through it. Makes me personally glad to hear it. And making you smile is rad, too. πŸ˜‰

  2. Laurie says:

    I can.NOT.imagine this moment..dropping your child at high school Holy Effing S#$@! Seriously stabbed by a pencil! You are such a good dad, Its just so obvious! How do you have a 14 year old?!?!

    • Andy says:

      Aw, you’re so kind. I don’t like to think of myself so much as a good dad as I like to think of myself as a dad with good kids.

      How do I have a 14yo, you ask? I’ve got a WTF team of researchers trying to figure that one out still. πŸ˜‰

  3. Jenna says:

    I love this. That is all. (I too have a couple graphite tattoos. They’re awesome.)

    • Andy says:

      Rad! That’s more than enough. πŸ˜‰

      I’m proud of those bad boys, the graphite tattoos I have. Middle of the palm on each hand. From dropping a pencil and it magic-trick-style hitting a surface as I flashed to catch it.

      I have rarely produced the sound that came out of me in those moments. Especially the 2nd time, because the scream had a questioning “WTF AGAIN?!?” tone to it. Ha ha ha ha!

  4. Chelsey says:

    That was a great post. You don’t look old enough to have a high school kiddo.

    • Andy says:

      Awww noooo! Not the age thing! AAAARRRGGG!!! πŸ˜‰ I got started early. Kind of makes sense if you consider I’ve been working since I was 13.

  5. When I grow up I want to be as cool a parent as you. I’ll probably accidentally be a Tiger Mom. I did, however, once jam a pencil tip directly into the middle of the palm of my hand, so we’ll always have that in common.

    Nice parenting, Andy. Well done.

    • Andy says:

      Too!… rad… a compliment… must focus… losing consciousness!…

      Andy Cannot Process This Comment 

      P.S. I’ve got matching pencil tats on my palms. We need to high-five and see if we can create a spark in the dark. πŸ˜‰

  6. Lacey S says:

    Very good post. Formal school is not for everyone – we as a society are getting better about trying to make it work for more people, but there are still a lot of growing pains within the approaches. Sounds like you have a great and very mature son – doing great, Dad!

    • Andy says:

      I’m very proud of him. Sometimes he’s smug, but even I think he doesn’t know how amazing he really is in certain ways.

      It’s true the educational scene is really changing rapidly, and for the better in a lot of ways. Yay. And about fucking time… whoops, did I write that out loud? πŸ˜‰

      • Lacey S says:

        Nope, you’re right. It is about fucking time. Formal schooling failed too many exceptional kids in our generation and the prior ones, and then blamed them for not being able to sit still or hold themselves back or tolerate the bullshit. I was a kid who consistently got Cs and Ds because I would DO the homework and read all the books – I would just never turn anything in, even in classes I loved. Finally in my senior year of high school something clicked and I finished the year with a 4.0, and went on to graduate Sum Laude from my University with 2 B.A.s in 5 years (Biology/Anthropology) and then got a Masters in Biomedical Anthropology. And I still can’t sit still πŸ˜›

        For my son – we’re saving for him to go to college if that’s what he wants, or a trade school, apprenticeship or whatever else he finds himself suited for. I’ll admit, I will be disappointed if he doesn’t finish high school, but he wouldn’t be the first in my family to decide it wasn’t for him, and probably won’t be the last. I want him to be successful – that doesn’t always mean smashing your head against a wall. Sometimes it means detonating the wall at a safe distance with high explosives and strolling into your future through the rubble <3

        • Lacey S says:

          (Oh, and it never even occured to me to drop out… just like I was blown away when I found out that some people skipped classes or skipped school days. I was like – “You can DO that??” – … never did tho πŸ˜› I lived in a very small town and there just never seemed to be anything more entertaining than school, even if I was basically just auditing classes :P)

        • Andy says:

          I heart symbol this comment very much. The super really kind of “very.” πŸ™‚

  7. Mother Duck says:

    I too dropped out of school when I was 14. In my case I was in all Advanced Placement classes and had great grades and loved to learn but I was done with the reindeer games that kids my age were playing so I went to work and continued to learn in my own way. Regrets: Growing up a little too fast? Maybe. Not going to prom? Despite what John Hughes films showed, music at proms sucked. Not having the “credits” and paperwork to go to college? It’s never been a problem and now I’m the owner of my own business so screw that.

    You turned out pretty all right πŸ˜‰ if you ask me and the fact that you made references to things I don’t even know about shows that your a learner from life rather than books. The best kind!

    As a mother of two very smart girls I think about this often. I know my oldest will be just fine in whatever she chooses to do because she is an avid reader and absorbs like a sponge and is always interested. My youngest is just 7 so we’ll see.

    Thanks for another amazing post!

    • Andy says:

      Too much radness… must resist overload… must fight…

      Andy Cannot Process This Comment 

      We are like minds, methinks. Or is it methunks? Shit. Maybe I should have stayed in school. (choking back laughter)

      • Mother Duck says:

        Ha Ha Ha! Definitely “methunks!” Wait, should that exclamation point be before or after the quotation marks? Screw it!

        • Andy says:

          Silly rabbit, I before E unless it’s being handcuffed by quotation marks and beat to a pulp by an exclamation point. Sheesh! Even **I** know that one! πŸ˜‰

  8. porche says:

    Yeah graphite tattoos are for life! I will be having a similar moment in the future. I didn’t attend high school either

  9. Stefanie says:

    This post is fabulous and you are a really awesome dad. Really. Really. Awesome.

  10. Mama Mary says:

    It’s amazing how watching our children grow up and go through life brings us back to what we did, or didn’t, experience, in our own youth. My daughter just learned how to ride a bike at age 5, which stirred a lot of emotion for me because I never did, at least not until my 30’s (and I’m still not very proficient). I hid the fact that I couldn’t ride a bike from everyone, which was really hard considering I went to UCSB where EVERYONE rode a bike. Anyway, watching my daughter ride around so carefree was an interesting moment for me and I have no clue why I just told you that, I’m not even drinking wine tonight.

  11. John says:

    This hits close to home. Not only am I a high school junior, but John Hughes is from the same town as me. I go to the high school featured in many of his films. I work in a room where the “breakfast club” was filmed.

    • Andy says:

      You are actually a High School junior!?! On this website!?! Wow. You blow me away, man. Somehow that’s very very flattering to me. Welcome!

      Also, the school you go to makes me smile, mostly because you’re aware of it’s history.

  12. joel says:

    I find that super interesting. I got bored in high school and tested out after freshman year. Years later I am now in college (after 15 years of work experience) and bored again. The only problem is that I’m unaware of a testing out of things option this time. CLEP tests should help speed things up. I hope.

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