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Monday, April 02, 2007

Jack-A-Ninny is the new ridiculous.

Today I had to confiscate a student’s cell phone during a timed writing because she was texting. Before she told me, "[I] sucked” and before I rolled my eyes the first time, she used the defense the she wasn’t talking. After my second eye-roll, she said that she wasn’t cheating, but she had to tell her boyfriend something. I lost track of how many eye-rolls I had after that.

That little incident has had my synapses firing all morning. To her, not talking and telling her boyfriend something made it justifiable for having a cell phone out in class! What was she thinking? Did she think that some kind of epiphanic switch would be flipped in me when she said those things? Oh, I forgot; not talking and not cheating is practically being compliant, so what’s the difference?

These kids—they spin reality so that it fits their desires! I’m generous with the term “desire” too. That implies some kind of ambition. They just don’t want to get into trouble.

And even though I get this phone stuff all the time, this is not the only form of this type of madness. For example, so many times I have told kids to put away their graphing calculators and get back to their English assignment and the response is, “But I’m doing school work.” Hello? That’s not what you’re supposed to be doing. That’s like explaining to the police officer that you had your hands at ten and two, when they pull you over for driving on the wrong side of the road!

I do concede that the fact that they were actually doing math and not playing some kind of racing game is a slight victory for the education system; that’s just another example of the sad state of things.

Now the granddaddy of them all is the, “You didn’t say.”

“You didn’t say to stay seated in my seat.”

“You didn’t say not to make a highlighter sword.”

“You didn’t say to come back from the bathroom.”

If this was a horror movie (I’m not sure that it isn’t), then I would shoot “You didn’t say” with a silver bullet. It being the original “werewolf” that begat all these other monsters, then its death would return everything back to normal.

The kids aren’t the only ones who aggravate me either. They’re certainly not the only ones who try to skirt reality. You know whom I want to punch the most—and the hardest? People who say that “40 is the new 30, and 30 is the new 20.” No, it’s not. You’re old; you’re closer to being obsolete, so get over it!

It’s sad that society redrafts its standards, so it can feel good, or keep its confidence. Not me. Bring on the pants up to my chin wearing, asking people to speak up, and the over-sized word jumbles that I can see with my faltering eyesight. That’s my fate. “Rage against the dying of the light,” doesn’t mean go get LASIK.

Listen to me. Now I’m rambling like an old person—good.

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