Chances are you took advantage of the recent tax free weekend or office-supply super sales before the first day of school this week. But still! There may be a few things you forgot on your back-to-school shopping list. Let’s start with the basics: notebooks, rulers, erasers, Post-Its, paperclips, a fresh day-planner or homework assignment pad and a crapload of pens and pencils. When I was in college I’d buy one big pack of nice pens and then stash them around the apartment.
College kids, listen to me — particularly if you live in the dorms: You need to cover your feet while you shower. Fungus grows easily in communal bathing spaces — talkin’ about athelete’s foot, y’all, and it’s not just for the fellas. It can catch on between your toes and under your toenails, and the most effective way of killing it is with pee. Those are just two very compelling reasons to wear flip-flops or aqua socks in the shower.
Essentials: computer, cell phone, iPod, dock and speakers for said iPod, approximately 100 new song downloads, GPS for weekend road trips, functioning microwave, a decent television set, Xbox with headset. Optional: blender, espresso machine, DVR, whirlpool, keggerator, ice machine, vibrating water bed.
A new lunchbox
This one’s mostly for the younger kids. Let’s be frank: You need a new lunchbox just about every year. For one, there’s a pretty good chance you smeared peanut butter and jelly all over your old one, spilled boxed juice on it, left half a sandwich and a Thermos of milk in there for a whole three-day weekend, dropped it in a urinal, sneezed on it… you get the picture. Also, maybe last year you were into the Transformers or Hello Kitty, but this year you’re more into Batman or Barbies. Time to move on, kid; it’s a part of growing up.
Every student should get a new pair of shoes every fall. No, I don’t work for Thom McCann (is that even a thing anymore?), but I do know this: Younger students need new shoes because they grow out of them every year. High school students need new shoes because they beat the crap out of their old ones all summer long. And college kids need new shoes because they’re going to be walking their asses off. Go for something sturdy and sensible that can be worn every day.
A new bar
Here’s a tip for all you college kids: As you pass through the halls of higher education, you are constantly growing, changing, gradually shedding the folly of youth and assuming the mantle of adulthood. Or something. You’ll start looking older, too, which means that you will be able to get into progressively better bars. Soon enough, you won’t need a fake ID at all! Just do me a favor: Stay out of my watering holes. The last thing I want to be reminded of while I’m drinking is youth’s sweet flower and how far past it I am.
A new towel
Here’s how I did it in college: I owned two bath towels. At any given moment, one was wet and one was dry. And every year, when they started to smell, I’d get new ones (or, you know, pinch a couple from my parents). I learned this method from a stand-up comedian, but it served me well for years — unless, of course there was an unforeseen accident (see next item).
One good bucket
If you’re in college — whether you live in an apartment, house or dorm room — you will need one good bucket, watertight and capable of holding at least two gallons, that you don’t care too much about. A rubberized trash can, large soup pot or, in a pinch, an empty beer pitcher. Because I’ve got some bad news for you: At some point during your college career, you’re going to puke. Or your roommate’s boyfriend, or some girl you brought home from a bar. Forewarned is forearmed.
New facial hair pattern
You gotta shake it up every once in a while, fellas. Last year’s chinstrap beard is just… so last year. Why not try an Abraham Lincoln beard? Or a pencil-thin mustache? Or how about that shaved head/sideburns thing? Or go for a serious and wooly pair of muttonchops like your boy Neil Young rocked throughout the ’70s. There’s a project that could take you to the end of the semester. And all you women out there can… you know what? I’ll leave that one alone.
Seriously… are you really gonna marry that college sweetheart of yours? Didn’t think so. For the serially monogamous, the onset of fall semester signifies the best time to choose a new mate — there’s a bumper crop of freshmen every year, and always a cute transfer or two. If you’re smart, you’ve already distanced yourself from last year’s model. If not, why not end it in a spontaneous and public bout of infidelity. If you still check “single” when you fill out a form, you’re not cheating on anybody!