Today's column is specifically written for you younger, school-age readers in the 11th grade or below. And you might want to sit down for this next part:
Hey, kids! So, how was your summer? Ready to hit the books again?
Well, you'd better get ready. Because here at the Standard-Examiner, believe it or not, we've already received our first back-to-school advertisement rumblings.
That's right, apparently back-to-school time is right around the corner, even though out-of-school time is still months away.
"But, Mark," you say, "How can that be? You can't possibly be talking about going back to school when the current academic year isn't even close to being over yet?"
Good point, my astute young readers. Indeed, for the average Utah student, there are still about two months -- that's a little more than 20 percent, or roughly one-fifth -- of the school year to be endured. And then, after that, there's all of June and July to enjoy before you kiddies even have to start thinking about the term "back-to-school."
And yet, there it was, squatting in my email inbox Wednesday morning like a big, fat, premature toad o' spam -- under the subject heading "Are you too school for cool?" It read:
Hi Saal, Mark,
The transition from Summer Fun to Back to School can be tough, but chicBuds has made it much easier by equipping students with this year's hottest back to school accessories! Now they will not only have the latest in fashionable, but also functional tech gadgets to ensure they are well-prepared and ready. I have already stocked up my nieces with all these great items and they just adore the cute prints and bright colors!
And it was signed, "Megan at ChicExecs."
Well, correct me if I'm wrong, Megan at ChicExecs, but -- technically -- shouldn't you be out of school before you talk about going back there?
Certainly we all know that Walmart and the other giant retailers in the country frequently jump the gun with their various holiday sales. And don't even get me started about that shadowy "Rudolph Day" organization that celebrates Christmas all year-round.
But addressing back-to-school issues in March seems a tad premature, even by those liberal standards. It's barely spring, and these folks are already talking about going back to school in the fall?
But wait! There's more! Because in addition to being woefully ill-timed, the email was also scholastically inappropriate.
So exactly what "tech gadgets" is this company offering you students out there, in order to be "well-prepared and ready" for the coming school year? Laptops? E-readers? Graphing calculators?
Would you believe earbuds, those small audio headphones that slip inside the ear? And how about keychain speakers? Ooh, and something called the "Fauvette Platinum Edition portable bird speaker"?
This last one is an audio speaker that resembles a small, jewel-encrusted bird. According to the company, it fits in the palm of your hand, allowing you to "play your favorite jams" through the 2-watt amplified speaker.
And the bottom line on this one, from Megan's email: "Crystallized fashionable elegance in Black, Pink or Gold Crystal Platinum compatible with iPods, iPhones, MP3 players, computers or basically any listening device. You simply can't go wrong!"
Well, can't go wrong unless what you really needed for going "right" in school is something a little more educational than some crappy avian-shaped speaker on which to listen to Katy Perry and Lady Gaga on iTunes. Because then, I'd say you can definitely go very wrong with a "portable bird speaker" as an integral part of your getting-ready-to-eventually-go-back-to-school-five-months-from-now plan.
Crows the chicBuds website: "You'll start the new school year with sophisticated style armed with the tools to succeed."
Tools to succeed? At what? Landing a spot on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"?
The company's products -- including "first-ever designer printed cords on earbuds" -- are aimed primarily at school-age girls. Which seems fitting, what with March being Women's History Month and all. Indeed, here in the Top of Utah, the Weber County Library's Pleasant Valley branch is celebrating with a couple of events, aimed at helping girls in kindergarten through 12th grade understand and enjoy astronomy.
The "Astro4Girls" workshop activities were created by Pamela Whiffen, NASA Astrophysics Educator Ambassador for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope Education and Public Outreach Program. Hmmm, a female astrophysicist with an impressive title like that? Sounds very successful.
I'll bet she has a Fauvette Platinum Edition portable bird speaker.
Happy Halloween! Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272 or email@example.com.