Dog Blog 25.0 – Back To School Commercials – The Leading Cause of Temporary Depression
This is a post by Brooke, our mountain-based YellowDogger!
Admit it, do you not still feel some dread creep into your body each time a Back to School commercial pops up on your TV screen? I sure do. It may just be for a few seconds, but those commercials offer virtual time travel back to being a kid. Your brain stops focusing on what’s going on in front of you and you begin silently reminiscing about being 10 years old and that summer spent goofing off at the pool. I’ve been out of school for a long time now and it doesn’t matter. I see an ad or hear a commercial and I’m momentarily hit with a wave of déjà vu.
I remember summers as glorious. The last day of school finally came and the pressure was off. My summer vacation was simple and not jammed full of family activities. I didn’t really want to spend time with my brothers and my parents anyway; I wanted to hang with my friends. I didn’t want to go to camp. That would have involved similar social pressures just like going to school. I was perfectly happy not doing a whole lot of anything. I wasn’t being judged because my calendar was not full.
Looking back, I feel a little slighted, a little envious of all the cool stuff kids have today. You see them, too. Kids wandering around the aisles of their parents’ favorite mega retailer, their brains are on “I Gotta Have This or I’m Gonna Die overload”. Ninety minutes and a few hundred dollars later, and they’re on to the Apple Store. Probably going to have lunch at CPK. Lucky. You too may think to yourself you never had it that good. But don’t begrudge them-in a few hours they will be watching TV and it will happen.
You don’t know when it’s coming, but it’s out there, and just when you’re least expecting it, because, well, it’s still July, a commercial cuts in to your favorite show. NOOOOOOO! First it’s school supplies, then it’s the clothes. Superhero emblazoned notebooks and backpacks, and kids dancing around the screen over-styled from head to toe. No matter how cool it all looks there is no denying that the grim reaper of advertising just ruined your night and put your summer on the fast track to the finish line. Talk about unfair, cruel and inhumane punishment.
You silently count the days left of your summer and go to bed, but it’s hard to fall asleep. Thanks to those commercials, you’re having an anxiety attack thinking about the new school year, your class schedule, the teachers, your friends, getting up early and all the stuff you need to be cool. It’s not easy to be a kid, but it’s supposed to be. Luckily, before you know it, the sun is up and you’re out the door, those commercials a distant memory. You contemplate not watching TV that night.
Days go by and more commercials fill the airwaves. You start covering your ears and look away when you hear some of the annoying pop music remixes. (This year it’s that flute…) It’s 100 degrees outside with a heat index of 115 and the commercial kids are layered in hoodies and tights. You wonder if your school district bucked up and put in central air. You notice that your parents seem happier. Ha, ha, very funny. Like you don’t know what they’re so cheery about.
Then you get your class schedule in the mail. You find out you have some cool teachers and friends in your classes. You look outside and notice some leaves are falling from the trees after succumbing to the Midwest heat and admit to yourself that the pool is getting kind of boring. The days are getting shorter. Slowly, Mother Nature is doing her very best to ease you into back to school mode and it’s working. You’ve been tricked by Mother Nature, and sucked in by the retailers, but it’s okay. You know what you’re wearing the first day and you got your mom to buy you a few more things. At this point you just want the stupid commercials to stop.
Last day of freedom. It’s raining and no one, but a few diehards are at the pool, you being one of them. You’re shivering and covered in goose bumps and you grumble to your friend like you have life experiences of an 80 year old, “it always rains the last day of summer vacation”. They nod, or maybe they were just convulsing from the cold. Finally you cave and head for home. After warming up, you hate to admit it, but excitement has now taken over the feelings of dread. The next morning up without an alarm, you gear up in all your BTS finery and are off to the bus stop. School is like a big family reunion. You see friends you haven’t for a few months and the chaos of day one is exhilarating. You compare what you’re wearing and carrying, and judge yourself internally. Did you fall short or did you hit the retail BTS trifecta? All good.
After dinner and some simple first day homework you turn on the TV. What?? All the BTS stuff is now 75% off, and BOGO, and you’ll get Kohls Cash if you shop before 8 pm. Target’s onto Halloween. Walmart, not to be outdone, is talking Thanksgiving. That means Christmas is just around the corner. Reality slaps you right out of your 10 year old self back to adulthood. It was a quick trip down that memory lane. Pretty soon you’ll be thinking about the lame Halloween costumes you had. At least when I was a kid, I got full size candy bars. How about you?