Boy in the independent study credit recovery class I monitor:
Wait a minute! This is so fucking lame! I’m going to drink a fat gallon of bleach tonight, I swear to God. I’m already working on one fucking essay and the next two assignments are more fucking essays. Look at this! It says, “In a six- to eight-paragraph response…” That’s fucking lame! I fucking hate high school.”
Some context: he’s finishing up course work for English 11. So, in other words, he’s at a point in a class that should require a couple of essays.
I promised him that writing a couple of papers wasn’t actually a good reason to “drink a fat gallon of bleach,” and that every high school graduate in the world has made it through just fine with writing papers and without committing suicide.
“Oh yeah?” he asked. “Since when?”
“Since school began,” I said. “Since the dark ages. People have been writing essays since before there was paper. We all do it, and we all come out stronger in the end.”
He said, “I’m not an author! I can’t just bust out a 400-page book!”
“No one is asking you to write a 400-page book,” I said. “But if you’d rather write that than the three two-page papers we are asking you to write, I would let you.”
He chose the essays.