Tuesday, December 9

An Epidemic

One of my many roles in life is reading at least one storybook a day, enthusiastically, with action and possible character voices.  If you asked me, which you didn't but we'll pretend you just did... I do like to think just reading a story could possibly be a learning experience, even if just in using some imagination because it's fun. You might laugh at that but when I was an English tutor I was absolutely floored I had to give creative writing lessons to a boy in grade 8.  I mainly was preparing him for essay writing but insisted dedicating some time in the former lesson after finding out he had never in his life written a fictional story, and after asking him to name a main character for me and he simply wasn't able to, and THEN it took me two weeks to get a half-borrowed-half-created fable he heard once that was one page long (skipping lines).  Ever since then I have flat out told people they were wrong if they stated publicly or in my general direction that excelling in math is the only thing you need to get anywhere in life, and that's really not just because I wasn't any good at it myself.  Really.

 
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By nature children love repetition so I could (read: have) read the same story over and over again and they could not be happier about it for some reason.  It is actually me, the professional teller I am, who prefers new stories and I happen to find a few of my own childhood storybooks at my grandmothers house which I stuck on the shelf for such a day.  A day where I don't care about Thomas the Tank Engine and the School Trip!  I've read that thing 700 times at least and every fucking time he has to go work and can't take the children home.. but oh, low and behold, Bertie the Bus breaks down and he saves the day!  There is a lesson for you there, by the way, and it is in life there is always someone telling you to work and it ruins all your fun until something terrible happens to someone else where you can take advantage of it.  It will all work out for you through a series of inconspicuous and unrelated incidents.

Note:  This is exactly where I think the famously classic idea from stories or movies came from: to mislead a person into thinking everyone forgot about their birthday/whatever so the surprise at the end would be extra awesome.  No, sir or madame, I hate to tell you that you basically left them upset, depressed all day and considering making some toast in the bath later. The party at the end is equally comparative, at best, to how much the rest of the day probably sucked.  Oh, you got me, I thought everyone I knew turned into a huge dick.  Boy is my face red now.

Anyway so today I pulled out a really crappy looking book of a duck with one working googly eye, dressed with a chimney sweep hat and a hobo pack.  I was a little excited to see what the story would be about, and read the title out loud The Frightened Wolf ...oooou.  So basically this is what happens.. there is a wolf who is coming to eat all the animals in the farm, nach, and one chicken gets a great idea to grab the rabbit and bravely go off into the forrest to stop him, bravely, again.  What was his genius idea?  From the look of the cover, maybe he convinced all the animals to run away from the farm and join the circus.  I have to admit I was a little curious.. the wording of the book was unusual already so I didn't have a guess at where this was going.  And I read.. well..  this is the actual excerpt from The Frightened Wolf.

what a fright the wolf got when he heard the conversation between the duck and the rabbit.  "how mean to send us away from the farm because of this epidemic.  pity anybody who eats us!"

Did the author die in the middle of writing this and they had to publish it to cover the costs of buring him?  Otherwise that is the fucking stupidest thing I have ever heard; an epidemic!?  You want kids to A) know what an epidemic is.. B) the plague is the idea that won over all other reasons to make a hungry wolf go away.. and goddammit C) logically the wolf would say thank christ I didn't eat the rabbit and chicken and then just go to the farm anyway because all those animals weren't sick!  But no, no this is the reaction..

the wolf didn't wait to hear any more.  he ran away as fast as he could.  "I must get at least fity miles away," he thought to himself.

Of course, ok so children when you're afraid of things you should never listen to the rest of something and run at least fifty miles.  At least.. else it's not safe from ANYTHING.  The illustration actually had speed lines, too.  I hope nobody read that story to me too many times, but knowing my mother, she did.

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