Our back-to-school series moves forward with part three of six.

Every year, as predictably as death and taxes, school starts all over the country, and with both children and teachers not quite ready to get back at it, day planners get filled with easy, gimme point assignments, like having a parent sign a syllabus, bringing in a box of tissues, and the traditional covering of the textbooks, a task so pointless and mundane that many grades the world over have slipped down a peg because a student just couldn’t be bothered. Maybe you were one of those kids, and you vowed to yourself that you’d never slip from an A to an A- again because of some stupid book. Now you’ve got the chance again, but what’s this? All of a sudden, an A- doesn’t seem so bad relative to the misery of spending 5 minutes covering a book. Not this year!

Well, day one has come and gone, and now it’s time to get down to some schoolin’ business. Monday was no sweat: Read a syllabus here, talk about a grading scale there, go pick up your textbooks, and RIIIIIIIIING! the period’s over and you do it all over again. If only every school day could be like that.

But it can’t. You wouldn’t learn anything, and kindergarten students in Japan would be smarter than you.

And speaking of not learning anything, you’ve got your first assignment. It’s a pretty traditional first-day-of-school set of gimme points, the ritualistic covering of the textbook. It’s too bad your motivation to actually do it is still lounging by the pool sipping Kool Aid and listening to Justin Bieber.

Your motivation needs to stop being such a little bitch.

It’s business time now, and there’s only one person in this world that can protect the cover of that geometry book from the dangers of your locker, your backpack, your dog, gravity, flooding, locusts, toads, explosions, nuclear meltdown, you name it. That cut up grocery bag you put on your book makes all the difference in the world, and if you cover it, you’ll be a hero, and you know what heroes get?

Ten points.

Of course it should be more. They should be throwing you a parade for all you’re about to do to save that book. You’re adding years to its shelf life. If everyone took such good care of their textbooks, your grandchildren’s grandchildren would be able to use your same textbook generations from now and appreciate the mustache and eye patch you drew on Pythagoras on page 121.

It could still happen. It just takes you, some tape, some scissors, an old Target bag, and a little bit of time. So hop to. Cut the bag open and spread it out. Set your textbook on it. Fold the extra paper at the top and bottom so they meet the edges of the book. Now fold the extra paper on the outside in. Now cover the whole thing in Scotch tape. Close enough. The teachers said you had to cover your book. They didn’t say what with or to make it pretty.


Ten points.