Spring break means changes for students and parents

March 23, 2014

It’s a rite of passage, that well-known ritual called spring break. This is when colleges and schools give students and teachers a respite from the rigors of academics. Well, maybe in someone else’s world. The only rigor going on here is picking parents up off the floor after they find out the kids will be back home.

A great many students in college will leave the comfort of their communal couches, which are usually located on the front lawn of the dorm. Some will head back to their parental home. There the student will fall into a deep coma, much like Snow White. Of course, his or her parents will take their vital signs every day to make sure they are still alive. As Freud once said, “A tax deduction is a tax deduction.” So you have to keep a vigilant eye on your investment.

If there is a family pet, such as a dog, particularly if it is a large black one, then the animal will attach itself like an amoeba to a host, thinking the child is a long-lost dog relative, perhaps a brother-in-law from the Labrador side of the family, simply because they have the same sleeping habits, which is all day, every day, until the semester starts up again. They will eat together, watch “Judge Judy” together and even text together, since the dog probably has swallowed at least one iPhone in his lifetime and the directions are now embedded in his stomach.

I always used to take photos whenever my kids came home on spring break. I have a whole album of strange-looking kids, wearing mustaches, sporting beards and other people’s clothing, encased in torn Hawaiian shirts, wearing no shoes and beads. I’m not sure they were my children, nevertheless they showed up at spring break. The album is tucked away in the attic, unfortunately for the people who bought my last house. Let’s hope they don’t come across it; I hate to scare people.

Well, not everyone chooses to come home for spring break. A lot of kids head out for an experience that will add to their knowledge of the world, like the open seas for the adventure of communing with nature and breathing the salt air.

Unfortunately, that battle usually involves a place in the line for the cruise ship buffet and the opportunity to pour a large quantity of alcohol in someone else’s belly button, someone who just happens to be prone on the bar on the same cruise.

Scientists are now studying blood samples from this group, since they never appear to come down with typical illnesses that may happen on cruises, such as airborne viruses and sea sickness. It could be the large amounts of items gorged at the buffet after an all-night casino game, but more than likely it has to do with the embalming qualities of alcohol they consume.

Still, the wet T-shirt contest sites are popular retreats in the sun-drenched Caribbean for those seeking relief from the stress of campus life. I’ve heard those college archeology classes are murder on your body, which already carries enough bruises and lines from falling facedown on the desk in another deep sleep. OK, sometimes the dent on the forehead is permanent.

Still, there are plenty of kids who work hard over their spring break, helping others and performing work that makes a difference at charities and similar causes. Not everyone considers this a party break. There is a zero to slim chance one of these types of kids will show up at my family reunion, though.

There is one golden rule if you have a college student home for spring break. Never, ever mention the word job, unless you have an allergy kit readily available for anaphylactic shock reactions. Whew, glad I cleared that up.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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