Category Archives: Bubby Spamden

Cerebral_lobes

Brain Strain

Today’s post comes in the form of a letter from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden of Wendell Wilkie High School.

Hey Mr. C.,

Well it’s past the Fourth of July and the back-to-school sales are about to begin, which got me thinking about starting yet another sophomore year at Wilkie. Some years I wonder if it’s worth the effort. I know lots of people who say it’s a scandal how I keep getting held back in the tenth grade over and over again, but the standards there are high on purpose and there always seems to be a good reason why I shouldn’t advance.

A long time ago I became the poster child for the campaign to end social promotion. So for a lot of families at Wilkie I’m their guarantee that the school is serious about achievement. “As long as that Spamden kid stays a sophomore,” they say, “I’ll know my kid is expected to perform. Imagine! A sophomore forever!”

Anyway, holding me back is now something everybody has gotten very used to, which is maybe the most major reason of all why I’ll never get to be a high school junior. You know how it is when you get into a routine.

So that got me thinking that maybe I need to do something crazy and different to shake things up, which is why I’m writing to you to ask if you could forge my dad’s signature on a form that I have to fill out before I can be allowed to donate my brain to science.

I guess minors need the consent of a parent or guardian to do this, and even though I’m way, way NOT a minor anymore, as soon as they find out I’m a high school sophomore they INSIST I fill out the form. Don’t worry though, you won’t get in trouble because it’s probably not even a crime to pretend to be my dad on a permission form when I’m almost thirty years old!

Did I just say that out loud? Geez, now I’m even more sure there’s something wrong with my brain.

And scientists from all over the world are working right now on solving some of the most complicated mysteries that happen between your ears. So there’s lots of money in the field, and everybody’s arguing over how to spend it.. Some bunch of European brain experts have signed a petition to say the big Brain Project they have going on over there is “too narrow in focus,” which is an odd thing to criticize because when I start flunking tests my mom always TELLS me to focus in on one thing rather than letting my brain “squirm like a toad,” which is a phrase I think she picked up in the ’60′s when people’s brains were really weird. Because toads don’t squirm, they hop. At least they do these days. Maybe things were different back then.

So anyway, they’ll probably decide to do even more research just to keep everyone happy, which is great if you have lots of education in, like, neuroscience and stuff.

I don’t have that education, but I DO have a brain to sell. I’m willing to bet they’ll want to take a really close look at one that couldn’t get out of the tenth grade, just to see what’s wrong with it. I’d like them to take it as-is. I’ve done as much with it as I can and I think the timing is right. Besides, Artie Richter is the smartest kid in 10th grade and he says they won’t have to remove my brain or anything, but I do think if the researchers buy my brain I’ll get to lie around a lot inside MRI tubes, listening to music, which would be an awesome improvement over Mr. Boozenporn’s class this year!

So what do you say, Mr. C.? Will you help me shake things up and change the script this year?

Your pal,
Bubby

Of course I told Bubby that I would not help him avoid going back to school by forging his dad’s signature on a document that allows him to donate his brain to science. But the fact that he thought I might do it suggests there’s some weird chemistry going on inside his noggin, and it would certainly yield some interesting results if the researchers could only get their hands on it.

What could be learned if you donated your brain to science?

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IMG_6047

Mulch Ado About Money

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden, a permanent fixture at Wendell Wilkie High School.

Hi Mr. C.,

Well, here I am in the middle of Summer with nothing to do, as usual. There’s no regular work so I’m doing odd jobs around the house for pocket change. Just last week my dad paid me $1 a bag to spread cypress mulch in the planting areas of the back yard. I had to ask my mom to keep taking me back to the garden store because we have lots of planting areas and 2 cubic feet is not as much mulch as you think.

I loaded everything in a wheelbarrow, rolled it to the spot, dumped it, opened it, spread it, collected the bags and went back to the car. Over and over. It was pretty hard work but I’m happy with the way it turned out.

However my dad didn’t realize it was going to take sixty eight bags. And I probably could have done it with less, but I’m convinced bark mulch is a waste of time unless you lay it on really thick.

Especially when I’m only getting paid $1 a bag!

He forked over the money though, which is all that counts. But then he asked me what I was going to do with my windfall and I said I was going to go see Edge of Tomorrow, that new Tom Cruise sci-fi action film.

That’s when my dad said he was disappointed that I was using his money to pay for something by that weenie Tom Cruise, and just the thought of his hard-earned dollars supporting “that wacko” gave him a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.

That kind of confused me. I told him I wasn’t giving his hard-earned money to Tom Cruise, I was giving MY hard earned money to Tom Cruise.

See, I thought money was mine as soon as it was given to me but he said “No, there are complaining rights that belong to the person who just gave it to you. They’re free to slam you if you’re doing something stupid or objectionable with it, and even to take it back if they can.”

So I asked “What if the person who gave you the money was a Scientologist who got it from Tom Cruise himself? Wouldn’t they have complaining rights too?”

“No,” he said, “complaining rights only last for one transaction.”

So then I called him “small-minded” and said a bunch of stuff I don’t remember, but it probably had to do with the whole economic system being at risk if the person who employs you can dictate your behavior.

And that’s when he snatched a ten out of my hand and told me has a deeply held religious objection to children who contradict their parents.

“Honor your father and your mother”, he said. “Matthew 15:4.”

When I said “Hey!” he said “Take it up with the Supreme Court!

People sure get weird around money.

I don’t know if I want to own a company some day. It would wear me out to keep up my complaining rights on all those salaries and benefits. Not to mention the complaining I’ll have to do about taxes!

I think maybe it’s easier to lug around all those bags of mulch!

Your pal,
Bubby

I told Bubby I don’t think he’ll have to worry about owning a company some day, but complaining about what other people do, especially if it’s none of our business, is one of the great pleasures of adulthood and he shouldn’t be so quick to give it up.

When does your money stop being yours?

French_Fries

The Not So Lazy Days of Summer

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden.

Hey Mr. C.,

Even though school is almost over for this year, the work never ends for us kids!

That’s right, it’s summer job time again, which means me and my friends have to sweat bullets to come up with a fresh list of reasons for why we don’t have summer jobs!

This is good practice because it helps build up a life skill – deflecting unwanted questions.  And that’s tougher now than it was in the olden times, like two years ago. Back then all you had to say was “tough economy” and everybody was like, “Well, yeah!”. But now you say “tough economy” and they say “I heard it was getting better”.

And maybe it is, but not for teenagers!

People always think we can go get work in some fast food place, like there are suddenly thousands of open jobs as soon as school lets out because teenagers are hanging around all day to eat more and more fast food in the summer. But we don’t eat more fast food because we don’t have any money because we don’t have jobs. And if the fast food joints hired us so we could have money, then we could buy the food but we wouldn’t because we can already eat the spillage and wrong orders and leftovers behind the counter during our shifts!

Economics sure gets complicated!

The only other people who would have more time to go to a burger joint between June and September are the teachers, but when they place an order with a kid behind the counter who is also one of their students, the teachers kinda expect to get their fries upsized for free. And the kids do it because who knows if that teacher is the one who will hold your whole future in her hand when she decides whether you got a “B” or a “C” on that essay?

That takes a real mental toll, trying to decide if it’s ethical to bribe a teacher with french fries. It’s almost as taxing as writing and rehearsing that no-job excuse.

Speaking of which, here are some of the best ones I’ve heard so far:

  • I’m going to summer school to (catch up on / get ahead of) my regular classroom work.
  • I’m doing super-honorable extracurricular volunteer stuff to pad my college application and make me seem like I’m a much better person than I am.
  • I’ve taken an unpaid internship so I can get experience being overworked and under appreciated.

People tell me that last one will really prepare me for life in the adult world, but they’re all good excuses. One bad thing, though. They all require extra explaining because adults will pepper you with questions like: Where are you going to summer school? What are you studying? Where do you volunteer? What colleges are you going to apply for? Where is the internship? How awful is that boss? Etc, etc, etc.

More work for us, because making up things is hard, especially when the stories have to be believable.

So whenever you see a report that says American teens don’t want to work, you should ask us what we’re doing with our time this summer. You’ll see us working pretty darn hard to deflect that question!

Your pal,
Bubby

I told Bubby that I agree – using your brain to be coy can be great practice for life in the real world. Unfortunately, the only field I know of where you can get paid specifically to deflect questions is politics.

How do you answer the uncomfortable question?

Press_Conference

A Brief Pressing

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden.

Hey Mr. C.,

I thought it was pretty cool the other day when that kid from New York who got accepted into all eight Ivy League colleges held a press conference at his school to announce that he had chosen Yale.

That’s a pretty awesome decision.

I don’t mean the decision about going to Yale. Ho hum to that. I mean deciding to have a PRESS CONFERENCE at your SCHOOL!  And one that real reporters would actually come to!

Amazing!

It got us talking in 5th hour Life Skills about what it takes to get attention from journalists and how each of us would handle the pressure if we knew we had to face the press.

Mr. Boozenporn said the key is to know your message and state it clearly. And take only a few questions – the minimum needed to give the impression that you care about what the press wants to know, which of course you DON’T.

You want to make them think you’re being open, you hope they swallow your bull, and then you go home.

Then he assigned us to write a two sentence opening statement for a press conference that could be about anything we want – world issues, personal statements, the weather, etc. And to make it as much like the real thing as possible, we had to get up and read our statement while a guy from the A/V department set off strobe lights and then our classmates got to shout angry questions at us for one minute.  

It was pretty cool.

Here are some of the statements kids came up with.

“I called you all here to confess that the rumors are true. I have been rejected by all eight Ivy League schools and have decided to attend Hamburger U. in the fall.”

“After an in-depth review of electronic records, I have decided I am going to un-friend Derek for the fifth, and final, time. If he tells you we are still ‘friends’, you will know he is a liar, which is something I have known all along but I have only recently decided to believe 24/7, rather than only every once in a while.”

“I have called the world’s press together to announce that I, too, have decided to put a ring in my nose, because piercing is our generation’s way of expression our unique individuality. And besides, everyone’s doing it.”

I’m surprised at how nervous I got when it came time for me to make my statement. But I swallowed hard, got up there, looked into the lights and said this:

“I called this press conference today to publicly challenge Alicia Erickson to a date, at a time and place yet to be determined, and under the rules of the Geneva Convention. I will name a delegation to negotiate the details with her representatives during tomorrow’s second hour study hall, where I have spent the last eight months staring at the back of her head, wishing she would turn around and speak to me.”

Well you can imagine that I got a lot of questions after that about what makes me think somebody as cool as Alicia would go out with me (nothing) and what do the Geneva Conventions have to do with dating (lots), but I said as little as possible and then sat down.

When Alicia got up and gave her press statement ten minutes later it was about pesticides, so I was happy she didn’t include anything about my date challenge in that. But she did look at me a couple of times and she might have smiled once, so I’m feeling pretty hopeful about it.

Your Pal,
Bubby

What is your two-line opening statement?

napoloen_Woot2

A Punishing Defeat

Today’s post comes from Wendell Wilkie High School’s perennial sophomore, Bubby Spamden.

Hey, Mr. C.,

Thought I’d better tell you how it all went down in the big debate in Mr. Boozenporn’s class yesterday. Me and Alicia Erickson went toe-to-toe in what will probably be our only-ever thing that we do together, arguing about whether there should be a maximum wage to go along with the minimum wage that got signed into law by the Governor yesterday.

I could tell I was in trouble from the start. Alicia had two big loose-leaf binders on her desk crammed full of papers and there were three of her brainiac friends sitting right behind her, just glaring at me. People had been saying on Facebook that she spent the whole weekend cramming factoids and statistics into her memory – stuff she found in macro-economics and labor relations textbooks that she got from her parents, who are both trial lawyers.

And I think her mom is also a ninja.

It made me kind of sorry that I spent all my research time on Sunday looking into the history of the word Woot!, but it was too late to kick myself over that. I had to go first and make my best argument for the maximum wage, so I launched into my speech that I wrote on the bus this morning and I have to say that I think it was pretty good.

I said a bunch of words about how some people are so good at economic stuff they manage to get a whole lot more than they need. Which is fine, I said, until it gets ridiculous and they have so much they can’t even think how to spend it.

And then I threw in a quote from “Grapes of Wrath”, that I caught Lester Wells saying out loud in the seat next to me on the bus. He was supposed to hand in a book report today in Ms. Hecubensen’s English class, which he had all written except he needed to add something to make it sound like he had really read the whole thing rather than just looking at parts of it online.

And it just so happened it really lined up with my project too:

“If he needs a million acres to make him feel rich, seems to me he needs it ’cause he feels awful poor inside hisself, and if he’s poor in hisself, there ain’t no million acres gonna make him feel rich, an’ maybe he’s disappointed that nothin’ he can do ‘ll make him feel rich.”

Which set me up for my big idea – capping personal income at 10 million dollars a year and then giving individual over-earners the WOOT! title – Wealthy Oligarch Opportunity Titan! Kinda like getting a knighthood, except it has the extra responsibility of using your money smarts to lift up other people.

Some of the kids in the class answered with “Woot, woot, woot” and every time I said it after that more of them joined in until Mr. Boozenporn told them they had to stop. But that was a cool feeling. Like I was winning them over!

So then Alicia gets up and I figure she’s going to come at me with studies and numbers and probably the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, both.

But instead, she says …

“My whole case comes down to gold and silver, two things the super-rich covet and collect. I’d like to see a show of hands. Who thinks there should be a maximum wage law to limit the income of those greedy super-rich people?”

Just about every hand in the room goes up. I’m feeling pretty good.

“And who thinks there should be a law to limit how much YOU can make?”

Nothing. It was the raised-hand equivalent of crickets chirping.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” she says, “And do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” “The golden rule and the silver rule. You can look it up.”

Then she sits down. And everybody says WOOT! Game over!

So I felt bad for a while but a bunch of people told me that I did better than they expected me to and they didn’t really disagree with me, they just weren’t ready to totally give up the idea of being super-duper rich someday themselves.

“But as soon as my hope dies,” said Jennifer Goff, “I’m on your side.”

That’s what friends are for!

Your pal,
Bubby

Do you follow the rules?

lecterns

Distracted By WOOT!

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden of Wendell Wilkie High School.

Hey Mr. C.,

So I spent all weekend thinking about my upcoming showdown with Alicia Erickson in Mr. Boozenporn’s class. Our debate about the Maximum Wage is going to be epic! Like I said I’m pretty sure she’ll destroy me but at least I’ll have her attention for almost fifty minutes, which was all I really wanted to do in the first place, so no matter what happens, I win! Woot!

But I’m still a little scared.

I was going to do lots of research on the huge differences between the top earners and the bottom earners and all that, but once I got online I got distracted by Facebook messages from people at school who were kinda taunting me and telling me I was going to do a face plant in the debate and it was gonna be an awesome debacle and woot! woot! and all the stuff that people say when they’re spouting off. Which got me to wondering what woot! means.

So instead of looking at wage statistics I spent a couple of hours researching WOOT. I found out that there are a bunch of different stories. Some say it started out as an acronym for “We Owned (the) Other Team” or “Want One Of Those”, but thanks to over-usage WOOT doesn’t really mean much of anything anymore other than Yay!

Once I got that figured out, I was ready to start on the debate research but then my mom came in and said I had to help her clean out the garden and the flowerbeds so new stuff could grow. I told her I had homework but she never lets me skip chores, so I lost the whole afternoon to doing stuff outside.

But this won’t surprise you – while I was out there, I kept thinking about Alicia Erickson. Especially where she said my idea of setting a maximum wage was stupid because it would discourage job creators and drain away their “urge to achieve.”

Even though I was raking wet leaves and using sharp clippers to trim away dead plants, my eyes kept seeing Alicia’s lips forming those words – “urge to achieve.” Good thing I didn’t cut off any fingers! But after a couple of hours of that, I feel like I’m kind of an expert on urges.

I decided that Alicia might like my maximum wage plan more if there was something in it to let the super-rich still feel special. It would have to have some way for them to keep competing with the other super-rich people besides just piling up money.

And that’s when I remembered WOOT!

So here’s the plan: Once you get to a point where you earn ten million dollars a year, you can’t earn anymore for yourself but you become a WOOT, or an Wealthy Oligarch Opportunity Titan!

Doesn’t that sound cool? It would be an all-capitals title that you’d put at the end of your name, like this – Warren Buffett, WOOT! The exclamation point would be part of it! By law!

I put the word “Titan” in there so they’d feel like superheroes, and the word “Opportunity” so they’d get the hint – everybody who reaches WOOT! status would compete with the other WOOT!s to do good works, like creating opportunities for other people.

Exactly what or how, I don’t know. I haven’t gotten that far on the details yet because we left so much stuff sitting in the garden at the end of last year and it took me all afternoon to clear it out.

But I think this is a pretty good start. It’ll be a lot more impressive than a bunch of dumb old statistics. And I’m sure I’ll think up even more details to add to it while I’m debating Alicia. I just have to remember to keep my mind clear, and not to look directly into her eyes or I might forget everything that’s in my brain.

Wish me luck. WOOT!

Your pal,
Bubby

Of course I wished Bubby luck but I have to admit I’m worried. Doing some real research might have been more helpful than coming up with a new meaning for WOOT!

If you could add an impressive title to your name, what would it be?

suitcase-money

Wage War

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden of Wendell Wilkie High School.

Hey Mr. C.,

So I think I got myself into a kind of a tough spot yesterday.

We were talking in Mr. Boozenporn’s Social Studies class about Minnesota raising its minimum wage, on account of a lot of us are going to earning it someday (if we’re lucky), working at burger joints and discount stores when we (some of us) graduate.

Pretty much everybody was saying “it’s a good thing” and “about time” and blah, blah, blah. But all I ever want out of that class is to get Alicia Erickson to look at me, and she seemed pretty interested in the topic.

So I kind of blurted out that the minimum wage “… isn’t really the issue.”

And Mr. Boozenporn, who is the laziest teacher I’ve ever had and he really ought to be fired for wasting our class time this way, said, “What’s the real issue, Bubby?”

And so I said “It’s the huge difference between the money that little people get and what the fat cats get, which is why there ought to be a maximum wage too.”

Then it got really quiet in Mr. B’s room.

Don’t get me wrong. I like my school but a lot of the kids come from over around the lake, so the idea of a maximum wage didn’t go over too well because most of them saw it right away as a ceiling on their inheritance, which they’ve already imagined collecting because some of them (I won’t mention any names) have told me they daydream about strangling their parents in their sleep and running away with the money.

Really! Like you could get away with that!

So Mr. Boozenporn said “Bubby, tell us more.

I didn’t really have any more to say, but you know how it is. So I think I said something about “… once you get rich you can’t really spend it sensibly anymore …” and “… the super rich aren’t happy …” and “… anyone who can’t be satisfied with ten million dollars isn’t really trying …” and some other stuff I don’t remember.

So then Alicia Erickson (of all people!) speaks up and says my ideas are stupid and putting a cap on income would just drain incentives from the job creators and that our economy is built on what she said is “the urge to achieve.”

Which was kind of thrilling because Alicia was looking right at me and talking about urges.

So Mr. Boozenporn said “Alicia and Bubby will debate this on Monday. They’ll be graded on the quality of their reasoning and everyone else will be graded on respectful behavior and the clarity of your note-taking. Class dismissed.”

And then the bell rang.

Now everyone is mad at me for ruining Monday with a whole hour where they’ll have to sit quietly and take notes. But I’m mad at me because I have to debate Alicia Erickson and I’m pretty sure she’ll destroy me!

I guess I need to think some more about the stuff I said, to see if I believe any of it. Right now, my plan for Monday is just to move my mouth and make random sounds until the bell rings.

Unless you have some other ideas for me?

Your Pal,
Bubby

How do you win an argument?

Sunset

Lights Out!

Today’s post comes from perennial sophomore Bubby Spamden.

Hey, Mr. C.,

I’m really pumped about some new research coming out of the University of Minnesota, which seems to confirm what I’ve been saying for years to the administrators at Wendell Wilkie High – it’s a waste of everybody’s time for the high school day to start at 7:30 am! Me and my friends cannot wake up that early in the morning. We’re just lurching around for at least the first two class periods of the day.

You know how zombies are always looking everywhere for brains because they don’t have any of their own? That’s us!

So now a bunch of high schools are finding a way to start as late as 8:30 or even 9 am, which would be awesome if we could get that at Wilkie. And it pays off!. Test scores are better, and more people are actually paying attention in class, which has the teachers all freaked out. Some of them haven’t been listened to by anybody in years.

At the start of second hour last Wednesday, me and Ashley found Ms. Hecubensen sitting at her desk, weeping. When we asked her what was wrong she said somebody had asked her a question in first hour, and it wasn’t about going to the bathroom. That had never happened before!  And then there we were, asking if she was all right, which just made her cry even more.

That got me thinking. One thing that could mess up the benefits of a later school starting time would be if students just got distracted by social media and stuff and stayed up extra late and came in exactly as tired as before, just one hour later.

So Ashley and me wrote some lullabies to keep that from happening. We used the tune of “Rock-a-Bye Baby” because it’s the only lullaby we know. And we did it during second hour because Ms. Hecubensen is our new favorite teacher.

Since we had that “real” moment together, we know she likes us too much to yell at us.

Rock-a-bye Freshmen, Twitter can wait.
Facebook will always have an update.
Turn off your laptop, lower your lids.
And stop your complaining, you little kids.

Rock-a-bye Sophomores. Texting must end.
None of those people are really your friend.
No one can bully you while you rest,
Your brain needs some sleep to prepare for that test!

Get some rest Juniors, because you can.
Now that you are such fine women and men.
Your sophistication runs very deep
And you can’t be awkward while you’re asleep.

Rock-a-bye Seniors. Lead lying down.
Dream of yourself in a cap and a gown.
Soon enough you will be looking for work
so rock-a-bye Seniors. Sleeping’s a perk.

When should the day begin?

Mail-envelope

The Envelope Please …

Today’s post comes from Wendell Wilkie High School’s “forever sophomore”, Bubby Spamden.

Hey Mr. C.,

Last Friday Mr. Boozenporn told us to imagine that we have been voted “Student Of The Year,” and that we have to give a thank you speech. Then he said Monday morning he’ll open up an envelope and announce the name of just one winner, and that person will have to stand up and give their speech.

Mary Ellen Nugent wanted to know what would happen to all the other speeches written by people who didn’t win.

Mr. B-porn said “Those speeches will be forgotten. Only the winner’s speech will be heard, and then we’ll all give that person a grade on it.”

He said it’s normal for people who win prizes to get criticized by the non-winners, so we should learn to deal with it.

Then I said “What if you’re pretty sure you won’t get named Student of the Year. Do you still have to do the assignment?”

He said “If you’re pretty sure you’re a loser, you don’t have to do any of my assignments. Because losers don’t know how to be grateful anyway.”

So I said, “What good is gratitude if somebody assigns you to have it? Isn’t it supposed to come from the heart?”

Then Mr. B-porn told me to be quiet and do my reading, which I did, ungratefully.

I went ahead and wrote the speech because I don’t want anybody to think that I THINK I’m a loser. But I’m pretty sure I won’t have to give it. That’s why I’m sending it to you. I can tell from your blog that on a lot of days you just don’t know what to say. Maybe getting a bunch of words and sentences for free will help!

No need to say “thanks”. Some people just aren’t cut out for gratitude!

Hey everybody,

I can’t believe I’m Student of The Year! I didn’t plan to be a student, so I guess I have to thank my parents for pushing me. I would have stayed home and watched TV for my whole life, but they saw something in me and realized it was something they needed to get off their couch. So they had the bus come pick me up.

I know I wouldn’t have won without all those teachers who saw that I wasn’t paying attention in class and didn’t ignore it, like Mrs. Kostner who came and stood by my desk when I started to fall asleep and Ms. Thompson who made me come sit up in the front of the room when I was joking around with the guys and Mr. Zeligman who threw erasers at me when I was drawing cartoon characters in my math book.

They helped me see how far behind everybody else I was.

Which brings me to all my fellow students who let me copy their essays and copy their calculations and their research and their test answers. I did it as a compliment because I really want to be just like you, but without working as hard as you do. It’s a long list – but nobody said gratitude was easy so here goes!

First, for letting me copy her biology report on red squirrels … hey, could somebody tell the band to stop? I have this long list of names and … wow! Pretty much everyone is giving me a signal to stop talking. At least I think that’s what that gesture means. so – I guess have to stop talking. But really, everyone, thanks!

What’s the greatest speech you never gave?

Machu_Picchu_early_morning

The History of Procrastination

Today’s post comes from forever sophomore Bubby Spamden, poster boy for the campaign against social promotion at Wendell Wilkie High School.

Hey Mr. C.,

Well, they stopped canceling school every other day just because it’s cold, so Mr. Boozenporn said he won’t let us move the deadline for our History Projects again – they’re due on Monday.

He calls it the “Monuments” assignment – all about how people through time built things like buildings and stuff to leave their mark on the Earth. We’re supposed to research something like the Parthenon or the pyramids or the Palace at Versailles and write at least 1,000 words about it.

AND we have to make a replica to show the class, using common materials found at home.

What’s worse, he only just told us about this in September, which is so unfair! The school year was starting then and we were excited about other things and January 31 (the original due date) seemed really, really far away.

That means I’ll have to spend the weekend doing some quick reading and writing and building a scale model of something from history.

At least it won’t get in the way of the Super Bowl.

But I don’t know how he can expect us to get interested in this super-old stuff, especially so close to Valentine’s Day when we’re all feeling kind of in bloom and full of young-person thoughts all about love and living and fun and the future, not about dead guys and their buildings and bridges and graveyards.

Is that fair? I don’t think so.

Plus, he said nobody is allowed to pick Indian mound builders, which was totally what I was going to do! I already had the Earth and everything!

So anyway I’m wondering if you and your blog people have any ideas of some old building or construction thing that isn’t too hard to understand that I can make a quick copy of using stuff I’ve got at home. I know you’re all pretty old so you probably have even made some of the original things that would qualify – if only you can remember what they are! (Just Kidding).

Your friend who just lost his whole weekend,
Bubby

I told Bubby when I was a sophomore I did a similar assignment on Machu Piccu using egg cartons, Easter grass and Neptune’s Castle from the bottom of my dad’s aquarium that he kept in the living room all lit up and bubbling even though the fish had died about ten years before. My model turned out a little slimy, which really enhanced the look even though it didn’t do much for the smell. I managed to get a B.

What’s the oldest man-made thing you’ve ever seen?