Advice From Mercer Island Mimsy: Back-to-School Edition

Elizabeth "Mimsy" Snugbottom dispenses etiquette advice in a manner befitting the denizens of the Mercer Island.

Dear Mercer Island Mimsy:

Please settle an argument that my neighbor and I are having. She thinks it’s worth hiring a professional artist to decorate our son’s parking spot for the first day of school. I think the quality of the work is less important than the personal touch of my husband and me doing it ourselves. Who’s right?

— Chalk It Ourselves

Dear Go Chalk Yourselves:

Alas but unsurprisingly, you’re both wrong. While your neighbor is correct that nobody wants to be forced to look at amateurs’ flawed attempts at perspective and color matching, like last year’s execrable knockoff of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in space 47, her solution would inevitably subject Mercer Island to an influx of tattoo-smeared hipsters from the less desirable neighborhoods of Seattle (which is to say, all of them but Laurelhurst). Another sad consequence of the lack of quality arts education in our local schools.

Dear Mercer Island Mimsy:

I’m a rising senior. Where should I apply to college?

— Aiming High After High School

Dear Getting High In High School:

A short question merits a short answer: The most expensive schools for which your parents are willing to pay.

Dear Mercer Island Mimsy:

Our 4th grader is in the Highly Capable Program, but now that there are so many other students in the program it has been watered down to the point where it’s failing to meet our standards. We’ve implored Mercer Island School District officials to create an “Even More Highly Capable” program for truly exceptional students like our child, but they’ve dismissed this idea. What should we do now?

— Parents of an Academically Unchallenged Child

Dear Socially Challenged Adults:

It can be difficult for an impressionable young student who has spent one’s entire life cosseted within the One Percent to be lumped in with the merely well-above-average. It is, however, good training for the future when, as a doctor or corporate executive, your child will be required to feign empathy for such people. If this situation is that unbearable for you and your precious little dear, there is always Lakeside.

Dear Mercer Island Mimsy:

My child is starting 9th grade at Mercer Island High School and I’ve heard a lot of scary stories about the access to drugs and alcohol that students have there. What advice do you have for me?

— Just Say No

Dear Your Lips Say No, But Your Child’s Mouth Says Yes:

You should be proud of your child for not succumbing to these temptations during their time at Islander Middle School (as far as you know, anyway), and take comfort in the fact that high school is but a brief, transitional phase on the path to adulthood. In a few years your child will be in college where, liberated from your incessant scrutiny, they can avail themselves of a much broader range of self-destructive behaviors.

Dear Mercer Island Mimsy:

With the school year beginning, what I dread most as a parent is enduring the drop-off/pick-up lines. Other parents exhibit an appalling lack of etiquette: Cutting the line, letting their kids out in the “no drop-off” zone, leaving their engines running in the “no idling” zones, stopping to make idle chatter when there’s a line of cars stuck waiting behind them. Dare I add that drivers of certain makes of cars — BMW, cough, cough, Range Rover, cough, cough, Tesla, cough, cough — tend to be the worst offenders? Can you tell people to show common courtesy and respect for their fellow Islanders?

— It’s Not Me, It’s Them

Dear It’s Always You:

The parents you so crudely disparage are simply trying to model Mercer Island-appropriate behavior for their children. Namely: Put one’s own needs first and everything will take care of itself.

And you should see someone about that cough. It appears you are suffering from acute reverse snobbery, brought on by an underlying case of chronic jealousy.

Seeking guidance on how to comport oneself appropriately on Mercer Island? Mercer Island Mimsy may be reached at [email protected].