homework bullshit at hand was a call and response exercise about “Disagreeing Respectfully”. Apparently science, math, art, and literature, isn’t enough and the mandate of school is implied to involve “Respectful Disagreement”? I disagree! Furthermore I do not disagree in any manner which could be construed as respectful.
We were supposed to read a line of dialogue and submit alternate more respectful verbiage. The kid began warbling something like “perhaps we can find common ground…”
“Seriously?” I said. “Have you ever said that in your whole life?”
The kid blinked. “Well no, it’s just for the assignment.”
“What is?” I asked rhetorically, “speaking like an unemployed psychologist?”
The kid looked nervous.
“Let’s have fun!” I started.
“First of all,” I began, “if you’re sending a message to an unworthy yahoo who’s annoying you, the signature is key. Do you know who ‘John Hancock’ is?”
“The guy who signed the Declaration real big?” She asked, clearly not seeing a connection.
“Exactly! When someone wants you to do something stupid you should always remember the founding fathers.” The kid looked puzzled. “John Hancock told the most powerful man on earth that he and his whole military could kiss his colonial ass. That’s what it means to be an American!” I signed ‘John Friggin’ Hancock’ on the top of the page. The kid looked around for her mother. Too late! I was on a roll!
“The text refers to anchovies. Too boring. Let’s substitute snail darters.”
“What?” The kid asked?
“Snail darters. They’re a fish that is a sort of a word association between eco-groupies and the Endangered Species Act.”
“Um…” The kid looked nervous.
“All elementary school teachers are secretly in love with Rachel Carson and have a Pavlovian response to snail darters. Especially if we propose to eat them.” I was on a roll.
“Er… I don’t think she’s into fish.” The kid tried to explain.
“Does your teacher think all the polar bears are dying?” I asked.
The kid brightened. “Yes, she said something about that.”
“Well your teacher is wrong.” The kid looked shocked. I was still talking “…and anybody dumb enough to think the top predator of the Arctic cares if you drive a Prius will know what a Snail Darter is.”
I glanced at the next line. “I think you need to work in some quotes from Monty Python.”
“You mean the king guy with the coconuts?” The kid was desperately trying to figure out what was happening.
“Yes! You’re a smart kid. That’s the best place to begin a career of finding pompous losers and kicking them in the proverbial groin. Watch lots of Monty Python.”
By now I had scribbled all over the paper and the kid, despite misgivings, was joining in. Ten minutes later we had jointly composed an essay which was so sarcastic that the paper was practically smoking.
Sadly, mom showed up and realized her little angel was squeaking excitedly and shouting “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!”
The kid had taken the initiative. “It definitely needs more violence…” the kid was saying. I agreed. Mom was glaring at me.
Mom snatched it up and our work of brilliance was crumpled up and tossed in the trash. Apparently mom wants her kid to ride out another year before finally realizing it’s all a farce. The kid was sad to see the paper go but probably relieved that she wouldn’t have to hand it in.
After they hustled out I grabbed the paper, smoothed it out, and ran it through my scanner. It was a messy copy so I re-typed the illegible responses. Here, for those of you who loathe social engineering in elementary school, I present “Disagreeing Vociferously with Archaic Verbiage”:
I do not think I will be asked to help with homework again.