September 21, 2010

From the Health and Human Services Dept. of Jose Nation
Lost and Found Division

deborahs-homeworkHey Deborah, I found your homework on the street the other day. If you want it, claim it. Everyone else, let’s run down the list of what we love about this page of bare-bones composition. Click the image to enlarge for easier reading.

I think my favorite feature of this little report is how far down the page the actual information begins. The title is on the second line, really, and then the report is another four lines below that! A classic dodge that has been in use for generations—akin to pushing your food around the plate to trick your parents into thinking you’ve eaten more than you actually have—and I’m so happy to see it’s still part of the ducker’s repertoire. On the other hand, I wish students would try to be cleverer, and keep the teachers guessing. Stay ahead of the rule makers, rule breakers. Come up with the new tricks to avoid the bricks and sticks. Get it, chicks?

There is an absolute minimalism to this girl’s style of writing that you have to admire. It goes beyond the “just the facts” mentality and strays more into “even less than the basic stats” territory. Deborah is writing about Tasha. We know where Tasha lives, we know who is in her family, and Deborah alludes to nebulous trouble with “some other guy.” There is the alluring threat of death (always important), and Deborah mentions a 4-AM journey to the home of the Trinidadian president, who grants each member of the family a magical "E-Z pass visa to go and stay there," although Deborah fails to explain when this amazing form of Visa was invented (recently, I assume, as I have never heard of such a thing, but WOW does it sound handy) or where "there" is, although we can assume she's speaking antecedently of the trip to America they take two hours later. Tasha’s old man must have some powerful friends, but apparently it's not a detail worthy of exploration.

You have to love how the person checking Deborah’s work seemed to give up after only the first two comments. I can’t blame this mystery editor one bit; I imagine this practical person exhaustedly handed the paper back with instructions to simply copy someone else’s work from the internet.

I think I’ve already said more about this paper than Deborah wrote about the trials of poor Tasha, so I’ll let it be. What do YOU love about this theme, fair reader? How can Deborah improve upon her terse style?

Ahhh, the state of education in America.

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