Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 08.29.09
Stanstead, Quebec


Happy (School) Days Are Here Again

Dear parent/guardian:

All of us here at Runninose Elementary School are looking forward to welcoming your children back for the new school year. (Yes, even yours, Mrs. Shornblane.)

To prepare for opening day and to ensure the efficient functioning of our classrooms, you will find below the list of school supplies that your child ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE. It is critical that you DO NOT DEVIATE FROM THIS LIST.

Doing so may result in classroom anarchy, a sense of inequality among the children that will surely lead to antisocial behaviour later in life, and general shunning by the teaching staff.

All supplies MUST BE PURCHASED at Bureau en Bibliothèque en Bureau (BBB), located at 1532 Bakkally Way, just behind the feed mill next to the sewage treatment plant. There is ample parking three blocks away but the walk will do you good. (Yes, we mean you, Mr. Ravenburn.)

If upon your arrival at BBB you discover that they have run out of a particular item on this list, please do not phone the school board and demand angrily why on earth the administrators can't figure out how to tell BBB exactly what enrolment numbers the store should prepare for. If you want to yell at someone, that's what sales clerks are for.

The correct procedure for dealing with items no longer or not yet in stock is to go away and come back later. DO NOT PURCHASE FROM A COMPETING STORE. We cannot guarantee the quality of identical items at non-BBB stores. Plus, the school board does not own shares in non-BBB stores.

Also, for the sake of our school's reputation, please do not jostle, hassle, or rabbit punch your fellow customers in your frantic quest for the last Lil' Archimedes Geometry Set. Remember: protractor edges are sharp. (Aren't they, Mrs. Foley?)

Here then, is your list:

    11 duotang folders coloured as follows: plum, medium orchid, Scandinavian puce, compost, tuna steak tan, Armageddon green, income tax magenta, soiled peach, lion tamer red, panda and collapsed lung yellow.
    1 Three-Ring Circus brand three-ring binder
    1 Soviet Union-era world map
    1 geranium plant 5 inches tall (for reasons to be explained later)
    2 standard size Altoid tins (empty)
    5 Stickler erasers of different sizes, inserted into separate clear plastic bags, labeled
    1 highlighter (any brand but must be manufactured in Argentina)
    4 quires of lined paper
    1 dictionary (must include definition of the word ‘quire’)
    1 box of 9 Crayola crayons. To obtain this, you must purchase the 8-crayon box and the 24-crayon box, remove the cerulean crayon from the 24 box and jam it into the 8-crayon box. Discard remaining 23 crayons.
    75 grams of curry powder (for reasons having to do with the geranium plant)
    1 box of tissues
    1 antiseptic hand cleaner
    1 box of surgical masks
    1 agreement signed by parent/guardian stating that they will not send their germ-ridden kids to school if they actually need any of the above three items
    1 tablet of construction paper for Art class
    1 tablet of deconstruction paper for Philosophy class
    1 Grabulous brand glue stick (saffron scented only)
    The following textbooks: The History of Quebec and Canada but Really Mostly Quebec; Mathematics for the New Reform, or We Don't Care About the Answer As Long As the Process is Right; Ethics and Religion: It's Okay That You'll Never Be a True Québécois.
We thank you for your cooperation and for stimulating the economy.

A reminder that school fees are due on opening day and that we will launch our first chocolate bar sale fundraiser for school trips on Day Two.

Finally, we hope to see you on opening day, when our teachers will present the skit they've prepared entitled, Our Friend Ritalin. See you then!

The teachers and staff of Runninose Elementary