And if you believe that--well, never mind the bridges for sale; let's just say you're probably an Obama voter.
I've actually been working on perfecting what humor writer Patrick F. McManus called, in one of his side-splitting books, the "Modified Stationary Panic." The Modified Stationary Panic is supposed to be for people lost in the woods; they modify their initial desire to panic by running wildly about and getting even more lost by, instead, doing all the shrieking, wild gesticulating, hyperventilating, and other panic-induced activities while running in place. All the panic, none of the coming to one's senses in another part of the state park--or even in another state, depending on your speed, stride, and level of panic.
The Modified Stationary Panic, or MSP for our purposes, is also useful for a homeschooling mother during the dog days of August, when she realizes on what should be a lazy lemonade sort of afternoon that the feeling she's been having, that she's "all done" ordering books and materials, was an illusion produced by that nice homeschool bookfair she attended recently and where she purchased approximately 68% of her materials for the next year. Sure, 68% of the total number of books one needs is nice, but the remaining 32% haven't even been ordered, and one whole course hasn't even been decided upon, and time is running really, really short. What to do, what to do? Of course: panic!
A full-blown, non-modified panic could be quite harmful here. Sure, the hapless mom is unlikely to turn up in the wooded areas of another state (unless, of course, the curriculum item she hasn't chosen yet is math, in which case she could wind up in Canada before she stops running wildly). But even if the running around doesn't take her out of the house, there's a good chance that her state of panic will cause her to believe the following things, in no particular order:
- I am a total idiot.
- There's not enough time to get the books to be able to start by my wholly arbitrary start-date.
- The children have done nothing but be entertained by various forms of media all summer.
- The children need to clean their rooms, now: it's a disaster in here.
- The fact that I'm yelling at the children about their rooms is in no way an attempt for me to distract myself from the fact that I've been a total idiot.
- We don't need school books. There's plenty of stuff online and at the library.
- If I order the spelling books now, right this minute, they might get here by Christmas.
- I can't order the spelling books now, right this minute, because I'm baking cookies to apologize to the kids for yelling at them. Their rooms weren't all that bad...
- These cookies are good. I was supposed to do something else this afternoon. Hmm, what was it? It's so hot in here, I can't think straight.
But if the mother in question has successfully learned to adopt the MSP instead of the full-blown panic method, her initial wild angst and creative hand-waving, hand-wringing, or hand-through-hair-running will not lead to yelling at the children and the baking of cookies. Instead, she'll take a few moments to gather her thoughts, sit down at the computer, and take out all that panic-angst by yelling at liberals on political blogs before calmly proceeding to order the books she needs for the next school year.
All except for that one history course she still hasn't planned out, for a young lady beginning high school who is more excited about her typing course than anything else, and who, with her sisters, has been writing imaginary "blogs" on a word-processing program all afternoon.
But at least it isn't math.