Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Post to Defenestrate

Here’s a tip I wish I knew in school: if you write something ridiculous, there is a 79% chance your instructor will bring it home, read it aloud to his family, and they will choke on their Chex Mix laughing at your expense.

My Dad recently read us some of his students’ responses to various writing assignments, and because I have a mildly impaired sense of decency, I’m going to recycle them and share them with you. Mostly because my job can be about as exciting as a trip to Carpetland, and nobody wants to hear that noise.

Let us begin with one student’s take on 9-11. Remember, these are college freshmen:

“My mom always said, ‘you’ll always remember where you were when you heard the news of 9-11…’ I still remember. I was in fashion / interior design class and my teacher was like, ‘a plane hit the world trade center’ and she had the radio on and I was thinking, ‘what the hell is the world trade center?’”

But wait! There’s more:

“Things I’ve learned so far in college (an assignment): If your roommate is annoying, defenestrate them in September. In February, they are thirty pounds heavier.”

(‘Defenestrate,’ which means “to throw out of a window,” was the vocabulary word of the day.)

And, another:

“My favorite oxymoron is ‘rap music.’”

I like that kid’s style. Now here’s another student’s response to a journal assignment:

“What is the real meaning of life? Fuck if I know. I’m only 18. Life seems like a waste of time.”

And my favorite:

“Today was an amazing day. I’m not pregnant.”

38 comments:

  1. So apparently this last girl gets pregnant every day, except for this ONE day.

    That's gotta be hard on a girl.

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  2. "What the hell is the world trade center?"

    Umm, check please!

    Edumacation...

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  3. Any day you're 18 and not pregannt is a good day, I guess. My mom is a teacher, so I learned really, really young that teachers will laugh at your goofy assignments. Heh.

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  4. I love the use of defenestrate - that writer is darn clever for a college freshman.

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  5. I am laughing so hard I can't come up with a reasonably intelligent comment.

    I have to admit I've had the same sort of thought as that last quote...

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  6. Anonymous1:09 PM

    Ohmigosh - these are hysterical. THIS is why I don't write fiction. Nothing in my imagination is nearly as funny as the stuff I bump into in real life! Thanks for making my afternoon :)

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  7. I remember once in the 9th grade, I had a teacher named Mr. Hibbit. When he returned a writing assignment to us, mine looked like it had been beaten to a pulp. (Sorry) He had written copious notes in both of the margins and then viciously crossed them out in black ink. Every single comment, going more than halfway down the page.

    Then at the top he wrote. Good Job. Yeah, right.

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  8. Oh my...see, this is why I could not teach. I wouldn't be able to restrain myself from laughing.

    Those were hysterical.

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  9. Nice - I think the 18-year-old may be a genius. Not that I think life is really a waste of time, I just feel like nihilists are always wicked smart. There are worse stereotypes, right?

    So I guess I'm having an amazing too, then.

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  10. Can this be a regular thing? I can't remember the last time I cracked up this hard.

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  11. *holding head in hands*

    I can't tell if it's fear or laughter that is making me shake. I'm going with laughter. That shit was damn funny.

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  12. Ah - so young, so blissfully oblivious and boldly so.

    Your dad must have very deep laugh lines - this kind of stuff is priceless.

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  13. Anonymous8:11 PM

    I like the "fuck if I know" person. Good demonstration of "know thyself."

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  14. OH BOY. I love these. And I can tell you, Mr. Fortune and I have had some good laughs over things my students have written - a paper that was a tribute to a golf club comes to mind for it's detailed use of the words "shaft" and "head" and "shiny" and "hard".

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  15. Wow. Those are all over the map: funny, sad, mystifying. But fun all the same.

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  16. What I want to know is - how the hell did your dad get his hands on my journal?

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  17. Ah yes, our future is in good hands indeed. Though, I often wonder if I could go back and observe my 18 year old self, how embarassed I might be.

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  18. Anonymous9:35 AM

    My parents are retired teachers. My wife is a teacher. I get these sneak previews once in a while.

    But these are really funny. I mean, scary that college freshmen can be so... uninformed... but still, I enjoyed the laughs at their expense.

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  19. Had one of those amazing days once....and belive me - amazing doesn't even begin to describe it! What's truly amazing is that this girl admitted to the amazement.

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  20. Anonymous4:56 PM

    These are so funny. I love the honesty.

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  21. Anonymous8:21 PM

    My Christmas present, in advance: Two Jess posts in three days. Delicious, better than nail polish or pancake batter!
    We got our tree up last night. I sawed it and hauled it inside (traditionally Man Work). My DH tried to avoid helping by coming home super late and then hiding behind the newspaper. The kids kept whining, asking him to join in. I said in a stage whisper, "That's OK, kids. He doesn't want to." Oooh, keep that one in your arsenal. It works. The paper crackled and he said, "Did you just say I don't want to help?" I replied by firmly stacking the next-to-last empty ornament box atop the others. He helped, right at the end. You do what you have to.

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  22. Anonymous9:20 PM

    And then I was like, "Do you want fries with that?"

    Yeah, I... am stammering in utter disbelief. Should I feel gleeful that I didn't miss much by missing most of college?

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  23. OMG. I always laugh out loud when I stop here and I swear it's not the glass of wine I'm drinking. OK, well, maybe it is, but dammit anyone woman - you are FUNNY!

    Hi from down under. We're actually snowless and a balmy 50 degrees!

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  24. kristen7:41 AM

    *slap on the forehead*

    The future leaders of our country...at least they're clever.

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  25. Working in a high school for 15 years, I noticed that the cause of roaring laughter in the faculty dining room was often about a crappy comment on a paper turned in...

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  26. So what on earth did he think defenestration meant? I have been going nuts trying to guess.

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  27. This is too funny and sad- all at the same time.

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  28. Lifting jaw up off the ground....
    This scares me....truly frightening....

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  29. Thanks for the new word. I collect words (in my head - I'm that crazy) and this one will definitely find usage in my next writing project. Defenestrate. Ahhhh.

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  30. Oh god, so funny! I agree with Tink--can this be a regular feature? You (and assorted college freshmen) made my whole night. Wow, that sounded way dirtier than I intended...

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  31. Just a few examples of what our educational system turns out! On to a more positive note... I wanted to wish you and your family a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! ~ jb///

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  32. my sentiments exactly, "today was an amazing day. i'm not pregnant."

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  33. I actually admire the dippy girl of the "what the hell is the World Trade Center?" fame. Good for her for asking the big questions!
    And the last one? I can totally relate.

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  34. Today was an amazing day, I'm not pregnant???? Good Lord, these are the kids that GET INTO college these days? They keep saying its so hard anymore to get in?

    Did the guy really use the F word in a paper? Bizarre!

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  35. Oh dear LORD.

    College really IS the new high school, isn't it?

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  36. Why is it that I can't imagine having turned in a college essay that includes the phrase, "fuck if I know." Especially as the answer to the question.

    I guess I'm just a girlie swat, that way.

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