Rejected Writing: School’s Out Fo’ Summa

I have an announcement to make: Gerber + Enfamil think I’m havin’ a baby. To the tune of several direct-mail coupons and full-size sample packages arriving at my door.

(Important sub-announcement: THEY ARE INCORRECT. FOR SURE.)

Either somebody is pranking me or the Almighty Advertising Algorithm has gotten some shit comically wrong.

I don’t know how to stop it. To my knowledge, there’s no “Click here if you are officially not pregnant” box I can check. (Though I’m sure our government is working on it. Any day now. Blessed be the fruit.)

Anyway so that’s a zany anecdote about my life and here’s a rejected piece of writing that loosely relates to it! (lol blogging.)

I wrote this last year, late-summer/early-fall Back To School time, and sent it to McSweeney’s. At least this one gave me some variety in the rejection response:

“Much to like here, but the laughs never quite takeoff. Thanks for the look!”

Wow. That’s…helpful? Not sure I, personally, myself, go to McSweeney’s for a takeoff of laughs. It’s more of a “heh. that’s funny.” intellectual humor than “haha I am actually laughing real laughs right now” moment, but also: What the editor says goes. (Weird, right? All of our aspiring comedy writer fates rest on the sensibilities and daily mood whims of one dude? Ain’t that just life.)

*Since I’m negging hard, I feel like I should share a true lol-worthy piece from McSweeney’s that I love the most: Client Feedback On The Creation Of The Earth. (It’s a treat. Trust me.)

And now mine. Don’t expect laughs. You’ve been warned.

Crayons: Back to school shopping for people with no kids

Back-to-School Shopping List for People with No Kids

  1. Kleenex, 1 box – You’re an adult, dammit! Get 3 boxes while you’re at it. One for the bathroom, bedroom, and even the living room if you’re up to it. Allergies are no joke.
  2. Sharpies – For your bullet journal, as if that’s a thing you’ll keep up with this time. That’s cute.
  3. Spanish Language Dictionary – You really should brush up if you’re going to make it to Barcelona in 2019. That bucket list ain’t gonna cross off itself.
  4. Tape – Always good to have on hand next time you have to wrap another g.d. baby shower present.
  5. Calculator – For the annual whimsical tabulation of what your tax savings would be with hypothetical dependents.
  6. Notebook paper – Just kidding. No adult ever needs this again. Ever.
  7. Crayons – This one is also a joke. Clearly. Is there anything more useless than a crayon for the job of putting color on a paper surface?
  8. Well, maybe colored pencils. They’re like if whispering were an art supply. Charlatans.
  9. Get yourself some markers. And some self respect.
  10. Five Star notebook – Because you assume these are even still a thing? Who’s to say, really; you haven’t been in school since the mid 2000s.
  11. Pencil sharpener – Just like your ovaries, this is an item you don’t really need, but it’s nice to have around just in case.
  12. Pencils – I mean, yeah. For Saturday morning crossword puzzles.
  13. Paper towels – What if you spill your coffee? Which you’re enjoying all by yourself for as long as you please, interrupted only by the “are you still watching?” Netflix prompt. Btw, have you SEEN Somebody Feed Phil? Ugh. So great. (And it’s giving you the travel bug again. Thailand, too?! Yes, please!)
  14. Passport – Might as well get it updated if you’re near that 6-month window. Just in case that last-minute European-or-Asian fall trip comes together.
  15. Scissors – Like the sharpest, pointiest, most dangerous ones you can find. Leave ‘em in an easy-to-reach drawer⁠—or hell, right on the counter⁠—just because you can.
  16. Protractor – The pointy end can double as a corkscrew, in a pinch. (Nope jk – That’s a compass. Can you imagine needing to know the difference, at this point in your life?!)
  17. Sticky notes – To remind yourself not to go to Target on a Saturday in August. Because you don’t have to. That place is a ZOO.