Middle School Tips

By Dan Bergstein

     Going to middle school, or Junior High if your school district is being prissy about names, is a time of growing, changing, and terror. But this guide (for the first time in English!) will not only get your through these awkward years. We have found that it will also make you nice and slender, for some reason!

Dress:

     Because your body will change drastically during these few short years, don’t waste money on form-fitting clothes that you will outgrow in a week. Instead, buy sweatpants and loose-fitting magician shirts. Instead of expensive shoes, cover your feet with warm, pliable modeling clay. And in the wintertime, buy only falconer’s gloves and get them at least three sizes too big so you can grow into them and also get super-protection against all those falcons with really big, sharp claws.

Myths:

     Smoking does not make you look cool. A better way to look rebellious is to support an unpopular war, and if you want to look really sophisticated, wear a top hat (or two) and become a Gustave Flaubert scholar. We have reason to believe that this is how Brad Pitt became so popular.

Facts:

     -Your gym teacher will ask you to run the mile. Train for this event by running thirty feet (roughly the length of a 25-foot boat) every day, for 176 days. This equals one mile. So by the end of the 176 days, you and your body should be prepared. Or you can bypass this task entirely by becoming pregnant and getting a note from your doctor. If you’re a guy, get a girl pregnant and drop out and work in an auto-body shop.
     -Pluto is no longer a planet, the thumb is no longer a finger, and the triceratops is now no longer a real dinosaur. Science loves to prove your teachers wrong, and it’s just a matter of time before the number 7 is no longer a number but, technically, a flavor. If you go ahead and treat it as such now, you will either be considered a genius or score  minus-34raspberry (formerly minus-347) on your Math SATs.
     -Dating is going to be tricky in middle school because no one likes you. You knew that, right? Anyway, it’s no big deal, because soon you can move on to high school and college, and get lost in the background. Hang in there!
     -In order to seem hip and filled with angst, be the first one in your school to read “The Catcher in the Rye” and pretend that you love it. The truth is, no one really likes this book. We all read it because it seems like the right thing to do. It’s the same reason we eat tomatoes on hamburgers and tip the guys who bring our cars to us in parking lots. Oh–you didn’t know about that? What did you think—that your dad was making a donation to the United Way?
     -Measuring angles can be tough. Here’s a simple trick: If the angle looks like the letter L, it’s 90-degrees. If it looks like a very skinny letter V that’s tilted, it’s probably 60-degrees or maybe 40. If it looks like this–^^^^–it means “mountains” on most treasure maps.


Teachers:

     Middle school teachers are only teaching right now as a way to make a living until their novel, about growing up in a dysfunctional family during the 1970s, is published or made into a Lifetime Original Movie starring either Ally Sheedy with a lot of “work” done or Meghan Somebody or Other.


Possible Answer (if called upon):

     “Photosynthesis” or “Indentured servant.”

Pro Tip:

     Spice up any boring history class by raising your hand and asking, “Who won the Vietnam war?” or, “Pirates were once horrible, brutal people and now they are cartoon characters. Does that mean terrorists will one day be action figures you get with a fast food meal?”
 
Dan Bergstein was captain of the Football Team in high school. (“Football Team” was the name of his canoe.)

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