Dec 27, 2008

Eat my shorts, teacher sir

For second and third grades of my elementary schooling, I was enrolled in two different public schools on the island of Kaua'i. For some reason, both schools required students to perform a certain ritual each morning that I did not have to deal with in either of the two Big Island elementary schools I attended.

The class was expected to stand up immediately after the tardy bell rang at 8:05 and recite the pledge of allegiance. You know, the one where you supposedly pledge your allegiance to the oh-so-wonderful United States of America. We had to pledge our allegiance every day of school, and there were 180 days in the school year. I sure pledged my allegiance often.

Of course, being as young as I was, I had no idea what pledging my allegiance even meant. They didn't even tell us what it meant. I just stood up and recited what everyone else was because I was told to. And being an impressionable, unquestioning seven year-old who believed adults are truly all-knowing beings, I did so. It seemed senseless to me even at the time to stand up and chant and then listen to a bugle rendition of some patriotic American-the-great anthem on the P.A. speaker every single goddamn morning, but I did it so as to avoid the possible pain of receiving a spanking from my dad as punishment for disobeying the all-knowing adults and the infallible system that governed my youth.

If I could go back in time with the mind of an adult who is willing to stand up for himself and object to performing senseless rituals designed to mold us all into obedient little servants, I would gladly re-enter the eight hour of the day on a second grade school morning, and do what good ol' Bongo here did:

In truth, there are many, many things in school I wish I had done, and had not done. But when you're a kid whose happiness in life is determined so strongly by your parents or guardians, the right thing to do is simply to try and stay out of trouble and do with the adults say. I truly detested school and all the ridiculous things they made us do, and I can say I wish I hadn't wasted 12 years of my life in the public school system, but who knows whether I would be a better or worse person today if I hadn't had to suffer through it. Some people say high school or college is the best time of one's life, but I disagree. Life only got better after high school and college.

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