Would you rather answer the school district’s “Return to Buildings” survey, OR undergo a colonoscopy without anesthesia?

Would you rather be hated by everyone who’s decided that the pandemic is over already and we should all just go back to our lives, rising infection rates notwithstanding, OR, be hated by everyone immunocompromised who can’t take the vaccine, who haven’t left their house in 13 months and can’t until there’s some sort of herd immunity, for whom every single instance of spread lengthens their isolation indefinitely?

Would you rather live with the lifelong guilt of depriving your child of necessary social contact and a taste of normalcy during their oh-so-important formative years, OR, live with the lifelong guilt that you chose to send him back and now he, and your wife, have long COVID?

Would you rather Jasmine fail 8th grade because she’s completely checked out of her remote classes and lies in bed all day in a TikTok-and-YouTube-fueled haze, OR, because an endless string of unprepared subs now teaches her classes because her regular teachers refuse to work in an unsafe building?

Would you rather that your district “prioritize equity” by forcing families back before they’re ready, OR, would you rather your district “prioritize equity” by remaining remote pretty much indefinitely?

Would you rather hold lifelong resentment against your spouse for disagreeing about whether or not your child should return to school, OR, would you rather hold your opinion back to keep the peace and then resent them forever for making the wrong choice? (Self-hatred for letting them make the decision is optional.)

Would you rather get the news that infection rates are going up while you’re answering the school district’s cheerily worded survey about possible hybrid learning schedules, OR, just after hitting send on a decision that the district regrets they can’t let parents change once they’ve made it due to scheduling issues?

Would you rather moderate your local “Parents Dealing with COVID School Closures” Facebook group, OR walk 400 miles straight into the ocean?

Would you rather Johnny become severely depressed from the intense social isolation, OR from his guilt over being the one to bring COVID home to Grandma?

Would you rather admit that behind all your arguments about “equity” and “learning loss” is actually your own personal need to GET THESE GODDAMN CHILDREN OUT OF MY HOUSE SO HELP ME GOD, OR would you rather lose one of your toes (which toe is up to you)?

Would you rather, as a single parent, continue the current soul-crushing routine of you having to cover ALL the roles (breadwinner, caregiver, teacher, tech support, cook, playmate, janitor, arbiter of screen time, constant — OH MY GOD SO CONSTANT — giver-of-snacks) ALL the time, without a break, OR, would you rather risk whatever chaos would happen to your child’s life if you became seriously ill or worse?

Would you rather read one more email from the school district, OR eat a live slug? (With or without your child posting a video of you eating the slug to TikTok.)

Would you rather be the parent who wishes the teachers would just roll over, already, because they’re not actual human beings, they’re automatons who work at YOUR leisure, and it’s time those lazy bums get back to work already, OR, would you rather be the parent who hopes they hold their ground and refuse to work until the school district proves they actually have acceptable ventilation and adequate PPE — not because you actually care about the teachers, mind you, but because their union’s insistence on safety will ultimately benefit you and your child?

Would you rather listen to the Superintendent’s empty promises about equity, OR, the School Board’s baseless self-congratulations about equity?

Would you rather admit that the reason so many kids in remote school are struggling right now isn’t because “school” is closed, but that over the past few decades, we’ve forced schools to become ALL things to the kids and their families — social interaction, physical activity, food distribution, homelessness support/intervention, social work, health care, abuse prevention — and it’s the loss of those things, NOT TO MENTION LIVING DURING A GLOBAL TRAUMA AND ALL THE PERSONAL, FAMILIAL, AND FINANCIAL ISSUES THAT THAT ENTAILS, that are causing the widespread distress instead of just “kids need to be around other kids,” OR, would you rather keep choking on the sand you’ve buried your head in?

Would you rather have to make this decision about the weirdest back-to-school in recorded human history, OR, pull off your fingernails with a pair of pliers?