Friday, January 25, 2008

Let Me Bite Off a Chunk Of Your Ear

Merry Monteleone, the blogger former known as Jelinek, has assigned me the task of writing a satire. Deciphering that symbol Prince came up with a few years back was easier than it has been for me to land on a subject, but here goes. I'm keeping with my recent trend on names. And bonus points to those who can tie in the name of this post with my little essay below.

Roll Call of Responsibility

Listen to the presidential candidates rattle on. You here them talk about the economy, the war, the business of politics in D.C. You might even hear them talk about gun control, abortion, fiscal responsibility. But, have you heard them discussing education this year? Chances are the answer is no, or if you did hear education mentioned, I'm betting it had to do with the rising cost of four years of college.

Is the cost of a college degree a problem? You bet your sheepskin it is, but the real problem in education starts way before a young man or woman sets foot among the hallowed grounds of higher learning. The real problem starts in Elementary School and without the fundamentals of basic knowledge no child will succeed. Yes, Mr. Bush every child will be left behind.

The problem is a lack of qualified teachers. And why is their a shortage on teachers. Low pay? a factor, but no. Disrespectful kids and lackadaisical parents? Another straw yes, but one the humped back of education can readily bear.

I know! I know!

Put your arm down Horshack. Thanks for paying attention, but no, the lack of quality teachers is not due to the cost of obtaining a college degree, but it does have to do with sheepskin. Only I'm not talking about the kind with fancy letters like B.A., or M.F.A, Phd, or the like printed on them.

I'm talking abut the kind of sheepskin people fail to put on in the heat of passion. The kind of sheepskin, that breaks at the most inopportune time. The kind of sheepskin that leads to population growth in our entire school system.

That my friends is where the root of this problem begins. Actually it is nine months later, or the time in between when would-be parents start coming up with these "unique" names.

Rianna, Kianna, and Fe Fi Bohanna. Jaden, Jaxon, What-kind-of-crack-is-your-parents-ona.
Aiden, Briley, Colton. Dagon, Eliora, Flora. Gavin, Hanna, Ian. Jasmine, Keagan, and Liam too. Madison, Naylor, why not Opie Taylor? Peyton, Quinn, Reagan. Sebastian, Taryn, and Uriah. Vista, Weston, Xander, and Zoe.

You think teachers have time to run through the alphabet and call out twenty six individual names? In my day they could call out Jennifer, Michelle, Mark, and Steve and wipe out three-quarters of the class. Sure you had a few oddballs. The kids whose parents had a little too much fun in the sixties, but there wasn't all this need to stand out. To be an individual, instead of one of the herd.

What's next? I'll tell you. These kids have a name all to their own and pretty soon they start to think they are somebody important. Pretty soon they want a bit of the teacher's individual attention. Where does that leave the other twenty-five Callie and Kaden's? Clamoring for their bit of spotlight, that's where. Teachers don't have time to foster the spark in each and every kid.

Once upon a time Johnny Cash sang about A Boy Named Sue and we thought that was weird. Now society accepts an odd name without batting an eye. If we keep traveling down this road it won't be long before we stop assuming every one with a tattoo is a Hell's Angel, or that every woman with short spiked hair is a lesbian, or that everyone with an, I heart Tom Jones sticker on their car is an overweight, over fifty year old woman.

Hell, before you know it we'll have to start judging people by their action not their look. And who has the time to stop and get to know each individual for who they are. Not me. It's time to avert this tragedy. Name your kid, John, or Paul, or Karen, or anything but Elijah, Caitlyn or Merry.


Merry Monteleone said...

Oddly enough, my best friend from high school is named, Taryn... hey, we both made your list... we should have 'non-conformity' tatooed down our arms so you could confuse us with Hell's Angels...

Very nice, Travis... though the only image I'm getting on the title is a really poor showing at a Mike Tyson fight... probably not it.

Oh, and Travis will always evoke images of Travis Tritt - which isn't altogether bad, I had a huge crush on him in high school.. I know, very odd for a Yankee

You may go to recess now.

Travis Erwin said...

Nope, the title has nothing to do with Tyson.

Monnik said...

I thought of Tyson too.

Then I thought of eating a chunk of something along with a roll.

I'm not so bright somedays.

deborah elliott-upton said...

Vincent Van Gogh came to mind... and yes, I understand the name problem. The night I was born 5 other girls were born in the same hospital. They were all named Deborah (but may have spelled them Debra or even went with Debbie, but we all shared the same name really.) In school, there were always at least one other Debbie, so we were given numbers (talk about being made to feel important: which do you want to be #1 or #2 -- in elementary school this was awful because someone always went with the bathroom humor aspect) All through school I was shy (probably hiding from those teachers giving me a number and taking away my name -- gee, anyone else humming SECRET AGENT MAN? Or maybe it's just me.) Anyway, I am told I am not shy now and I'm happy with my name.

Patti said...

i just read he post prior to this and now can't think of anything but a, um, happy stick.

cut me some slack...i'm grieving.

Mama P said...

I found you on Monnik's blog and laughed my ass off at what you said to your kid that got him in trouble at school.

I'd talk more, but I'm too busy preparing my toddlers some toe liver to feed to their imaginary cat.

Colleen said...

Hey.... my kid's named Liam....

Oh, (haha) just got it.

Great post. Thank you.

Hope all is going well and the first few weeks of 2008 have been kind.

Church Lady said...

Don't know about your title. But now I'm curious about your previous post, so off I go....

Charles Gramlich said...

Nice play off of Sheepskin. I was just working on a satire/humor fantasy piece this morning so perhaps I was particularly attuned to your message today.

cher said...

Put your arm down Horshack. hahahaha

Design Goddess said...

My parents told me that my being a part of this world had to do with the failure of said sheepskin. Nice, eh?

Sam said...

I like interesting names, having a boring one myself. That said, my pet peeve is creative spelling of names.

Barrie said...

This is hilarious!

And...I'm feeling very smug because my kids all have normal names. :)

Penelope said...

When I was in school everyone was either Jennifer,Carrie, Jason, or John.

As a teacher, a couple of years back I had five Ambers in one class.

Lately, I've had a plethora of Kaitlyns. This year I have four Portias.

Personally, I like Astrid and Sidris. Both sound a little sci fi, but I've never had an Astrid or a Sidris so no bias exists.

-- Karen

Josephine Damian said...

When did Sean become Swawn?

I too guessed Tyson... oh, well.

Funny play on the sheepskin concept. lol

Lana Gramlich said...

Thanks for the chuckle. As for the title's relevance, I guess I just don't get it..?

tiggysmum70 said...

As a teacher, I too find some names quite odd and often hard to spell. I know we teachers have fun talking about weird names we have seen or heard other teachers say they had in class.
I remember Lem-onjello, orangejello, shithead (the -th- sounds like the th- in the), and a few others.... Trust me there is a kid out there with that name.... Crazy huh?

There is a lot to say about sheepskin and those who should not reproduce. SOME parents today expect the teacher to be personally responsible for their child and to heck with the rest of the class. We have been told that they, the parent, are not responsible for their child, their actions, or their words while at school. What the heck??? If my child gets in trouble at school, you can darn bet the bank he's in trouble at home.

WE need to get back to the basics and quit testing the crap out of these kids, AND make them ACCOUNTABLE for their learning. That is when the education system will change for the better good of society. If students, parents AND teachers are not ALL accountable then you have problems.

GREAT BLOG! From the sis of DG!