God Save Me from Stupidity

29 04 2011

When one of my devil children finished studying for her final today, I let her watch some of the royal wedding coverage, not leastly because I FUCKING LOVE ME SOME ROYAL WEDDING NONSENSE.  Anyhow.  We tuned in to watch highlights on our laptops and while she was watching the exit from Westminster Abbey and then the processional, she suddenly got a weird puzzled look on her face. 

“Why are they playing ‘My Country ‘Tis of Thee’ at the English wedding?”  She asked, perplexed.

It took me a second. 

“That, devil child, is ‘God Save the Queen.'” 

Oh, America.  What you lack in smarts, you make up for in plagiarized national anthems.

General Sherman was a Nazi

8 12 2009

It’s true!  Clearly, dear readers, you have been neglecting your charity work this holiday season.  Why not take some time out of your leisurely, Recession-era shopping (“That’ll be one value meal an, uh, 14 Hardee’s Coupons — whoops!  I mean FIFTEEN.  Almost forgot Aunt Gladys.”) and volunteer to help idiots at your local university study for finals?  It’s what the baby Jesus, surely, would want you to do.  Or the Hanukkah Troll.  Either way, soon, you too can be having conversations like this:

“Ok, so the Final is going to cover both World Wars, through the Cold War and into Modern politics?”  I ask guilelessly. 

“Yer.”  I am no longer to be rewarded with actual words, my students just mumble unintelligible things one might hear from a hobo camp after Thunderbird has made a few generous rounds. 

“Alright.  Give me the dates of World War II.”  I sighed, wishing I was allowed to make my kids write my Christmas cards for me as penance. 

“Whut?”  *THWACK*  “Hey!  My ipod!”

“Suck it, doucher.  Dates.  World War II*.”  The ipod is surreptitiously placed under my pile of Christmas cards because, yes, I bring them to work with me, so that the guilt never ends. 

“I don’t fucking know.”  Sulks. 

“Well, then fucking guess, please.”  I begin tapping a pen rather viciously on the pile under which his ipod rests.  *WHAPATA-WHAPATA-WHAPATA* 

Eyeing my pen nervously, finally, the Mayor of Corky town speaks:  “Maybe, I don’t know, 1864?”  Pen ceases. 

Pictured: The Battle of Gettysburg

“What?  That’s… towards the end of the CIVIL War.  No, ok.  Tell you what.  Let’s go back to the 1st World War.  When was the Arch-duke Ferdinand assassinated?”  I would have been alarmed a year ago, now I’m just TIRED.  Teaching is like wandering into a swamp of despair these days, sans map, torch or extra dog to eat when the going gets rough.  Jack London would have loved this shit. 

“Man, I don’t know.  Weren’t we in the middle of the Great Depression?” 

“In 1914?”  I ask, just trying to measure the depth of his stupidity by rubbing my eyelids until they feel ready to flake right the fuck off.  “No, though arguably, the subsequent Prohibition of the 20’s was probably damn near the most depressing shit we’ve ever done as a nation.”  I bark out a laugh, wishing I was allowed to drink on the job, something those Prohibition assholes are probably responsible for me NOT doing. 

“The … whut?”  He asked, finally taking notes and mangling the spelling of “prohibition”: “pro-homission.”

“The… Prohibition.  You know, when no one was allowed to buy alcohol for like 10 years?”  I mean, surely college students, at least, are still shocked into memorizing this terrible time in American history.  He squints at me, like maybe it’s poor vision that is forcing him to LEARN THINGS. 

“You lying.”  He stated simply, kicking back in his chair.  “Where would all the alcohol go?”  A fair point, even from an idiot who confuses Grant’s Wilderness Tour for a Nazi Death March. 

“Well, I mean, some people could still get it.  That was when we had the birth of the Mob.  And moon-shiners.”  I said, trying to back-pedal and figure out where to begin. 

“So, see?  It wasn’t really gone.  You’re just making shit up.”  He determined, smugly satisfied. 

“What?!  Why would I make up the Prohibition?  What possible motivation would I have in teaching you about a fake historical — you know what?  Nevermind.  What are you writing your paper on for this class?”  The last words come up muffled from where my head has descended into the pile of Christmas cards as I try to eat my way through the table and into a safe place of clear insanity, where I might be allowed to live in a clean hospital with no students, puttering about the grounds harmlessly unaware of the Prohibition. 

“Oh, man.  My paper is gonna be LEGIT.”  [Kids are saying ‘legit’ again?  I feel like I’m in the 6th grade, dancing to “Too Legit to Quit.”  It’s disconcerting.]  Also, this particular child is a white kid, and from a less-than-credible Southern state’s public school system, so maybe he’s just retarded. 

“Well, good!”  I say, doubtful. 

“Imma comparing the Lindbergh baby with that move, Taken.  Hey, where you goin??  We need to talk about fucking World War I and the space race, man.” 

Too late.  If I can’t drink on the job, maybe I can start drinking in my car. 

Happy Holidays, troops.  Just remember, even in line to buy BP gas cards as gift in the midst of this Recession, at least the Hanukkah Troll hasn’t cursed you with teenagers in the throes of finals week.             

*  Seriously, I had this conversation on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor.  It makes me wish my husband’s high school janitor was around.**

**  In high school, Husband got a petition signed for everyone to observe a moment of silence in memory of John Lennon.  Later, he was accosted, roughed up and threatened by the head Janitor, a mild man named Marcus whom Husband insisted on calling “Tony,” for reasons best left to the high school boy idea of humor.  “Tony” shook my lanky punk husband around for a minute, telling him that he had some nerve, getting a moment of silence for that dirty hippy when his brother had died in WWII and no one had a moment of silence for Pearl Harbor.  I know.  Neither one of us have shit for luck with janitors.

Worst Jew Ever

4 12 2008

Today, helping a hapless Jewish student study for his final history exam:

Jew Kid:  “No more Holocaust, man!  Fuck that noise!”

Me:  “What?  Forget the Holocaust?  Wht kind of Jew ARE you?!”

Jew Kid:  “Don’t be hatin’.” 

One more week and I am outta here for Christmas break.  Yikes.

Top Five

25 05 2008

Drum roll, please!  Here are the results of my semi-annual contest (with myself and my blissfully unaware students): 


I gotta tell you, it was close this semester, people.  Last semester it was easily the paper titled “Kobe verse Jordan” [sic] and was 8 pages of basketball stats.  Misspelled stats, I might add.

But since this semester was so full of priceless topics and each paper so filled to the brim with awkward, illegible or just completely nonsensical sentences, I’ll have to create a Top Five List… 

5.  “History of the AMA:  What Is The AMA And How Has It Progressed”

For you novices, the AMA is the American Motorcycle Association.  I didn’t realize this until about page five, though, since my young author failed to mention it.  He failed to include a table of contents, a THESIS (because, really, what can you argue about the infallible association dedicated to motorcycles?), and used the most enormous margins I’ve ever seen.  There are only like 2 paragraphs per page as a result.  He also took up a whole page with a Timeline highlighting every AMA activity since 1903. Now, one of the more baffling things about this paper is that the kid who wrote it was in a near-death accident on his motorcycle last year.  No lie – I’ve seen the scars on his head where they had to peel his face off to reconstruct the bone structure.  And he almost had a permanent hole in his throat.  Despite all this, his parents apparently think it’s cool that he still tools around on one of these death traps and writes papers on how awesome they are. 

4.  “PIRATES!”

This kid actually got a zero on his rough draft because he plagiarized it.  Yeah.  Plagiarized a paper about pirates.  WTF.  The opening sentence:  “If you asked me to draw a pirate I would probably give him an eye patch, a bushy beard, maybe a peg leg, a parrot on his shoulder, a hook where his hand would be and he’d be yelling ‘Arrgh!’”  And then he CITES this sentence!  He couldn’t come up with an imaginary pirate on his own?!  Other highlights include:  “The name buccaneer comes from the word ‘boucan,’ which is French, and means barbeque.  The reason for this was because they [the pirates] were always barbequing meats on their grills.”  Really?  There was a flaming Weber on every pirate ship?!  Also:  “Pirates were injured and died a lot.  So besides death, a pirate’s worst fear was becoming disabled.  If a pirate survived an amputation it [the body part, presumably] would be replaced with something such as a spare plank or nothing at all.  So injured pirates were worthless so they got compensated.”  He does not tell us how they were compensated, notwithstanding the spare plank or whatever.  And finally, in discussing modern pirates, the following is what I pray is a sentence stolen from an erroneously informed website:  “The Pirate Union strictly states that those with wooden legs cannot become members.”  You should see this kid’s Work Cited.  See, his thesis is how modern pirates (i.e. people who pirate software, not crazy arms’ dealers in the Meditteranean) are stemmed from the same basic need to STEAL as old-school pirates. 

3.  “Early History and Modern History of Horror and the Effects it has on Children”

Yes.  That’s the real title.  It only gets better from there. 

“Early history on horror stories originated back in the early 1200 the first book was called legend of sleepy hollow by Washton Irvine.  One of the most gruesome stories is based on Dracula, he got his name for his favorite way to execute was by the gelatin.”  I guess “gelatin” was as close as his spell-check and meager brain power could get to “guillotine”…  And this is the opening line of his paper!  And he’s not trying to be funny.    The whole paper is like this.  Here are a few more winning examples of his butchery of the English Language:  The Invasion of the Body Snatchers came out in the 1950s but there is little information on this movie.”  He also contradicts himself.  A lot.  Twin Peaks proved that horror can still be successful on television but later it was suspended for the lack of rating.”  He is also in the habit of describing horror scenes from movies, and at the end of each description he takes pains to explain to me that it’s not real – special effects are the real culprit.  Like I thought The Exorcist was really Linda Blair possessed by the devil.  His spelling is not to be believed, as seen in his description of “The Shinning.  Finally, his last sentence is pretty funny:  “Horror films can be dangerous so be careful what you watch on TV and what films you watch, there for you might wind up at the Betty Ford Clinic [sic].”  No, pwecious child.  It’s reading papers like this that will make Mrs. McNasty wind up at Betty Ford. 


I should have known what I was getting into when I flipped to the table of contents and one section was titled, “Capitalisms Attack!”  This kid’s whole paper is about how we’ve come so far from the Founding Fathers’ principles that Christians have to fear being made fun of for their values because homosexuals are taking over the media.  Actually, that’s pretty much his thesis:  “We’re just going to let it go to hell, with our closed eyes our politically correct obsessions, extreme tolerance for excepting [sic] wrong in our nation.”  To clarify, “wrong” (in this paper) = brown people, non-Christians and gay people.  Especially Obama, who gets a whole paragraph about his latent Muslim beliefs.  His Works Cited is comprised of the Bible and scary internet sites like “Summit Ministries” (total propaganda sites).  He’s also one of those kids who thinks he’s a lot smarter than he is, so he tries to write “big boy” sentences but… Alas…  This is the result:  “The inequalities of the abilities of men to women in the family, due to the inequalities in the workplace, are a further attack on the family.”  Also, “Ex. (The Simpson’s and Kings of Queens [SIC] are current examples and movie plots involve abusive fathers (the Breakfast Club, Affliction, and Daredevil to name a few).  Academics deride fatherhood in books like Feminism, Children and New Families, in which Susan E. Krantz dismisses the notion that ‘two parents are necessary for the well-being of a child.’”  This bizarre logic leads him into a rant about those pesky gays:  “The world, in the past few years, has promoted the homosexual agenda, and said that it is just as good, and as natural and as a moral foundation for a family as hetero-sexuality, and any opposition with this belief was an ignorant, bigoted, homophobe.”  So apparently he resents people who notice his bigotry and call him on it?!  He’s not done, though:  “Since procreation is a byproduct of marriage and homosexuality [???] in a lot of cases, society has an obligation to say what is right and wrong and what to promote and discourage in an otherwise private way of life.”  I think this kid is just so confused that he doesn’t know whether to scratch his watch or wind his ass.  Thank God he’s going to Liberty University – I can’t imagine him functioning in the real world, what with sentiments like:  “The world shuns people for feeling this way [hating the gays] and calls them bigots, because the world likes the way homosexuality affects people.”  He backs up these winning points with quotes from the Bible.  But the winner is when he says that Columbine happened because the 10 Commandments were removed from the schools:  “If Eric Harris and Dylan Herbold, when entering Columbine High School with there [sic] automatic weapons under their  coats, just happened to see the ten commandments on the wall and read the sentence ‘thou shalt not kill’ they would have turned around and walked out that day.”  He also says that the idea of separating Church and State is deliberately misinterpreted liberal propaganda and that we need to teach kids about God in school or there will be “unfortunate consequences” as implied in the bible.  I got the feeling, reading it, that I was being… warned. 

1.  “Adolf Hitler – an insane madman or complete genius?” 

I swear to GOD, that is the title.  The complete thesis furthers this stipulation with: “an insane madman bent on the establishment of an empire that would dominate the entire world or a complete and utter genius who is constantly denied of the true respect that he deserves?”  Now, this paper actually focuses on Hitler’s youth and upbringing, and then does address the Holocaust.  I don’t object to any of this since, objectively, I’m grading more for research and skill than content.  But then he defends characters in movies like American History X, saying that they were appreciating Hitler’s genius.  Um, I’m pretty sure that movie is about being racist.  But the kicker is his conclusion: 

“You must ask yourself, was Adolf Hitler insane or was he brilliant?  Yes, many of his actions were extremely controversial, [Um, can we please make this officially the understatement of the year?] but to see his true brilliance and genius you must overlook these controversial actions and see what Adolf actually accomplished during his reign of power.  During the few months Hitler was in prison […] he developed a plan later published as a book, Mein Kampf, which laid out exactly how he would gain power after he was released and that is exactly what he did [Ooohh, so he had a PLAN] He captured the best scientists from around the worlds and forced them to develop new technology for use in warfare.  When looking at all this you have to consider the time period that all of this took place in […] The constant stream of obstacles that he overcame was hard enough to imagine [obstacles = 6 million Jews?!]  Though the man was obviously twisted, he knew what he was doing. [So he was competent at his…job?!] That is why Hitler was without a doubt a complete and utter genius and deserves respect not because of the horrors he brought to life and the game he played [!!!] but for the accomplishments and odds he overcame and how he played his game.”             

At least he didn’t call his paper, “Adolf Hitler:  Man with a Plan!” 

I told him to seek help. 


Oh, and honorable mentions in the “Title” category go to 1.  The girl who called her paper, “Teen Sex:  The Touchy Topic No One Wants to Confront” and 2.  The girl who called her paper on Bulimia, “Look What I Had For Lunch Today!” 

Next week I’ll have Final Exams to share with you all.  I’m sure they’ll be enlightening. 


8 05 2008


I had to suppress the urge to bang open the classroom door this morning, booming “ARE YOU READY TO RUUUUMMMMMBBBLLLE?”  Just as well that I didn’t.  Nerves were frayed as it was.  Those pwecious Devil Children didn’t need a bigger dose of crazy from me than usual. 

But I brought them a big breakfast and juice and gave them a little pep talk:

“Now Devil Children, you know how I hate to praise you at anything –“  I began.

“Because you think we might get big ideas!”  Interrupted one young whipper-snapper.

“Yes.”  I replied icily.  “Big ideas like thinking you can interrupt me in the middle of a pep talk.” 


“Regardless,”  I continued smoothly, “I have come forth extra early this morning, bringing gifts of treats and love for you in appreciation for all your hard work leading to this moment.  You know that Mrs. McNasty does not like stupid people.  And Mrs. McNasty loves you, Devil Children.  Ergo, you cannot be stupid.  Especially not today.”  I finished a bit sternly. 

“What does ‘ergo’ mean?”  One wide-eyed Devil Child ventured.  Nervous laughter. 

“Oh my CHRISTMAS!”  One kid shrieked, dropping his bagel.  “I have forgotten all of my vocabulary!” 

“Clearly, dear, that is not the case,” I pointed out, retrieving the bagel and handing it back to him.  “So, are we all here now?”  I glanced around the room. 

Sweet baby ducks.  I was one bagel short of a baker’s dozen.  It was the slowest kid in class (no pun intended) who’d chosen to get firmly entrenched on my bad side by being late to the AP test.  The village idiot had fled the village.  Actually, he reminds me of the guy on the Snickers commercial – the one with the feasting horn.  Hobbies:  He loves to eat and lift weights.  ERGO, his reading skills suffer somewhat.  He’s also the only non-liberal in the group, believing with equal faith in Jerry Falwell, George Bush and Conservapedia.  For the most muscular guy in school, he gets teased.  A LOT.  He’s the one who wanted to write his research paper on how the gays are taking over the United States.  No lie. 

“Where is Lil’ Bush?”  I ask tersely, our nickname for him not even alleviating the situation with humor.

“Oh man.  I bet he’s on his way to his internship like normal.  He probably thinks we’re not taking the test until 3rd period.”  Worried looks abound.  They’re clearly wondering if I’m going to snap and throw a trash can into their midst. 

Because we’ve made the Snickers commercial joke together before, on multiple occasions, one kid interjects, “Just blow the feasting horn!”  We all laugh at the idea of him breaking through the wall suddenly like the Kool-Aid man, ready for some testing/feasting. 

There is no time to worry about it because the proctor shows up.  He is a tall, inefficient, useless man who also serves as their guidance counselor.  He is terrible at his job.  He loses their applications, recommendations and forgets their names.  But I can’t give them the test – it’s against AP rules.  So I have to leave them, after months and months of careful handling and molding, in the hands of an imbecile.  This must be what parents feel like when their kids join the military.  I look them in the eyes, hoping they know I’m sorry for this part of it.  “Don’t worry, Devil Children.  Mrs. McNasty loves you.  You’re going to be amazing.  I’ll come see you at your break.” 

“Mrs. McNasty, you really need to leave now.”  Mr. Guideless orders me.  With an evil look at this dead-behind-the-eyes proctor, I smile broadly at the kids, wink, and say:

“Oh, shucks.  I guess my MASTER PLAN of helping you all CHEAT isn’t going to fly.”  I snap my fingers for emphasis.  As he whirls to look at me, I’m already slipping out the door.  “The answer to number 14 is ‘B’!”  I scream as I shut the door behind me.  The kids laugh and the bewildered proctor begins to monotonously drone out their instructions.  I say a little prayer and then trot off to the library to enjoy my planning period.

I think they did well.  They were wiped, of course, when next I saw them at break, and totally blank-faced and babbling incoherently by the end of it all, but I believe that they were confident underneath the veneer of exhaustion.  In a weird bit of timing, today was also the day they handed out yearbooks, so when they finished the AP, they ate lunch and then we spent the rest of third period signing yearbooks.  Oh, and the Conservapedia kid?  He showed up just under the wire.  He’d been spraying for carpenter bees last night, got some of the deadly chemicals in his EYES and was thus late for school because he woke up blind.  Hope the Lord and the late Mr. Falwell were able to help him out, since I sure as shit had been booted from the room.    

Now all that’s left is to survive until June 6th.  Then give a graduation speech.  And not kill anyone on the way from point A to point B.  


*  The title of this post is a private shout-out to JellyKean — I just emailed with one of the AP kids who loved the idea of the facebook site, except she said they’d have gone with their own favorite line of the semester, from There Will Be Blood, natch. 

Not Altered

6 04 2008

Where does one purchase a dunce cap these days?


Here they are, loyal readers!  Real, honest-to-goodness, unaltered answers to questions on my midterm!  I didn’t think it was possible, but it seems that the longer you teach Devil Children, the MORE ignorant they get.  Not LESS.  It is quite a quandary. 

1.  Where are the pilgrims going in The Canterbury Tales? [Please note that the answer is actually embedded into the question]

  • to the french [not “France,” just to the “french”];  some church;  to find the holy grale; to punish the knight for rapping that girl [how did they spell “knight” correctly yet manage to mangle “raping?”]

2.  King Arthur is known as “The __________ and __________ King” (fill in the blanks) [Yes, I have to tell them to fill in the blanks.  Otherwise they won’t realize that the question requires any action on their part]

  • “The Really Bad and Really Good King;”  “The Fat and Lazy King” [I assume this was an attempt to be facetious]; “The Crazy and Killer King” [the student later confessed she thought it was a MacBeth question, which, I guess, makes it a pretty fair assessment]

3.  Why do the British people refer to him by this title? (see above) [Again, yes.  Totally necessary]

  • because of Something Princess Diana? [maybe my favorite answer]; they smoke crack [this kid lists crack smoking for roughly half of his answers]; they think he is Jesus Their probably going to hell though [Yikes]

4.  Name the seven Deadly Sins from Faust using GELCAPS [my little acronym for them; just to brush you up on them, they are: Greed, Envy, Lust, Coveting, Anger, Pride, and Sloth]

  • Grandpa Evil Lezbiens Crack [yes, this is the same kid] Anger [Yay! He got one right!] Pot Sheep [who knows?!]; Gettin some!!!  [that was the only letter he filled in]; Girls [I really don’t know if they were serious]

5.  What is the date of the Norman Invasion?

  • 1730s; right now?; when french people came in; 1603

6.  Each Shakespeare play begins with the promise of one of three things.  What are these three things? [It’s true — every play by Shakespeare starts with violence, supernatural shit or sexy time… or at least the promise of one of these things]

  • witches, killins and sexy time [for the record, they all got “sexy time” because they think it’s a hoot when I try to be euphemistic with them; whenever there is a sexy scene in a film, for instance, I cry to them, “Close your sweet, precious, virgin eyes, Devil Children!  Sexy Time is coming up!”  Which, natch, just makes them watch more closely]; sexy time werewolves and those drool people [I think he meant the Groundlings]; sexy time with girls with boys with witches; sexy time CRACK and demons [Yep.  Same kid.  He got a 56.  Lowest grade in the class]; knives guns sexy time; your mom ha ha! sexy time witches [I actually like this kid, so I let it slide about my mom] 

7.  What happens to Lady MacBeth at the end of the play? [Keep in mind, they all had to memorize the “Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow” speech, so trust me, we WENT OVER HER DEATH IN CLASS]

  • chops her hand off and bleeds to death [Oh dear.  Well.  This was my fault, actually.  I showed them the film, “Scotland, PA” which is a modern retelling of MacBeth, set in 1970s Pennsylvania.  They loved it because there is actually a deer hunting scene, lots of drinking and smoking, and Pat MacBeth (aka “Lady”) chops her hand off at the end, thinking she can still see the oil burn there — they kill Duncan in a deep fryer and take over his fast-food restaurant, calling it “MacBeth’s”…]; has a baby and bashes it head against the wall; kills Bankos wife and kids; runs off with the other guy [Now that’s actually an interesting alternative ending!]

8.  Define satire

  •   [By far?  The most popular response?  Here it is:]  SOUTH PARK

9.  What does Carpe Diem mean?

  • a kind of fish [Robin Williams’ character in Dead Poets Society is having an aneurism]; seez that girl Take her home and make her tend the sheep [At least he remembered that we covered “Carpe Diem” in context with “A Passionate Shepherd to His Love”]; ceze the […]  shit [I like that he tried, profanity not withstanding]; that thing where the girls vaj.j. has teeth in it [Ok, again, this is my fault.  I taught them what “Vagina Dentata” means.  And.  Well.  I kinda maybe taught them the word “vajayjay”]
  • Note:  none of them spelled “seize” correctly.  Not even close. 

10.  Why does Swift write such a misogynistic poem (The Lady’s Dressing Room), according to the reply poem by Lady Montagu? 

  • too old for sexy time [crassly put, but yes]; the one with the whore and the old man [well, they remembered the gist, but I wasn’t sure if I could count it, as it in no way answers the question]; where you told us about the enzyte commercials [now, how can they spell “enzyte” correctly and not “seize?!”  wtf]

Those are just the best of the best.  The horror of this particular exam, though, is that every question came from either a reading quiz or unit test, all of which they have in their possession to study from, and where I TOLD THEM to study from!! 

The hardest part of my job?  Having to grade quietly, without guffawing so loudly as to disturb the other teachers. 

April F– YOU.

2 04 2008

Ugh.  April Fool’s Day.  Nothing fun about it. 

Not from the time my mother called me at work to tell me the cops were at the door, subpoenaing me for overdue traffic citations… to the time my old job called to tell me I had the day off (I got dressed and ready for the beach, heading out the door in a bikini, when they called back to tell me, no, hahahaha, come in after all… fuckers).   

And I’ve never gotten the hang of the April Fool’s myself.  Like today, in class:

“Hey guys!  I cancelled your huge, 8-page midterm!” 

Cheers, applause, then me, cutting them off with my scary, over-worked laugh and, “No, no.  April Fool’s!  Clear your desks.” 

They’re still mad. 

*  In other news, please note that I’ve updated my blogroll to include some delightful new editions!!  Go check out Listy Loo, the Mad Blacktress and some angry ecards!!  Now those are laughs we can ALL share. 


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