It’s the post-vacation bulge. My backpack is bursting. It’s the last day of school vacation. The snowstorm pushed it off last Thursday, so it’s come twice. It’s the day the bell tolls, the alarm clocks get set, and teens everywhere shake off their crumpled hoodies for the death march back to school.

It’s when teachers look at the list of stuff not done over break. We realize it’s not done. Not even close. No little elf has assisted. Sure, there are some enviable people out there who tweet all they accomplished. I feel like a capital “L” loser.  In truth, I call “foul.” I demand an audit. No one can be that productive when staring in the face of a holiday. Cheesecake, or work?

I wanted to plan out the next seven years of teaching, make Prezis that would make Rembrandt cry, and have the grade book polished a week ago. Alas, there’s not a single Prezi to be found.

Screen Shot 2014-01-05 at 6.27.39 AM“Open me!” A voice hisses from the corner. It’s the backpack. The one that comes with a bottle opener in case of emergency. Every compartment’s stuffed with things to do–papers to correct, books I wanted to read, things that would have gotten me pretty far ahead in the stratosphere of preparation.

Alas, procrastination is an art form that must be fine-tuned. I consider it often. I have a book about it, “Overcoming Procrastination.” I’ve had it for two decades, never read it. They say, “never do something today that can be put off till tomorrow.”  And since “tomorrow never comes,” it’s fair to say that the hissing, bubbling, grumbling backpack can remain closed…perhaps indefinitely…

Today is the tomorrow that came. The one that slipped by the guards and snuck in without permission.

“Open me…” cajoles the backpack. “It’s okay. You want to open me…”  A lesson in life. Never answer the call of the sirens. Temptation is deadly. Always ends badly. The hero always opens the closet in a horror movie…Don’t open the closet! For me it’s, “Don’t open the backpack. It’s certain doom!”

I approach the zipper. I put my thumb and finger on it. I begin to tug. The papers rustle around. I hear a maniacal laugh.

It has to be done. I rip open the compartment, reach in, and yank out the stack. Not so bad as I remembered. Seems they procreated only in my dreams. Just a couple sections of a test I didn’t finish correcting, and a half-paper scratched up with ideas. Now I remember where I left off. The ideas begin to flow.

I smile, even without a Prezi. No pile of oppression here. Just a few things to do, some reminders that I miss my students…and a dead candy cane.

I guess I’ll be okay to return.