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May 15, 2009
I knew I wasn't the only one to have to this nightmare. Steve Sailer's had it, too. He writes: "If my dreams are representative, then the real American Dream is that you're in the classroom for your final exam but you haven't attended a class or opened the book all semester, and for some reason you're wearing your pajamas, and you really have to go to the bathroom." In my dream it's the last day of high school, and I realize I'm not going to graduate because of a class I have not attended. I'm desperately trying to find the room and I'm consumed with tenseness and anxiety. When I do find the room everyone is speaking some unknown language. The teacher sounds like the one in "Charlie Brown": "Wah wah wah!" The test makes no sense. With a horrible sinking feeling I realize I have to attend high school for another year. Obviously, there is a Hell, and it's right here. And there's a Nightmare Factory in it churning out variations of the same dream. My, those demons must be chuckling. I have this dream about once a year. One time it was such a nightmare I woke up disoriented and ran to the front door and stuck my head outside, trying to get some air. What causes dreams like these? The answer: public schools. There was something toxic about the public schools when I attended - and oh was I relieved to graduate--and they are still toxic today. I sometimes wonder if I have brain damage. Something's wrong in there, the way I still dread public schools. Or may it's just some Pavlovian thing, like that drooling dog. There are only two other institutions in American society that you are cannot leave: prisons and the military. And then there are the public schools. You have to go, and you cannot get out...just like prisons. Ergo, public schools are prisons! Sit, march, sit, for eight hours a day. No wonder we have such a high drop-out rate. I was nearly bored to tears being forced to sit like that. So, I retreated into my imagination, which was a lot bigger than my school. The teachers didn't like my attitude. I still have my reports cards claiming I wasn't doing my homework and not paying attention in class. And how I was "capable of doing such good work." Sorry to disappoint you, ladies and an occasional man, but I was too busy dreaming I was Tan Hadron of Hastor, rescuing damsels in distress and killing four-armed apes. At least the teacher never found my copy of Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Fighting Man of Mars. The one I still have. I also had a note sent home to my parents because I went all gnarly and was chewing on my report cards in class. The note politely suggested there was something wrong with me, and how something - never specified - should be done to me. Maybe either a doctor or else else a good beating over the head with a shoe. I guess my chewing on the report card was the only way I could strike back, except for wishing horrible agonizing deaths on Dick and Jane and Spot and Pony, all of whom put me off of reading for many years. These days I'd be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder without Hyperactivity and forced to take Ritalin. As bad as it was back then, at least we didn't have any of that. Of course, some public school are better than others. Still, some are downright horrors, and for some students, no matter how good they are, they're still horrors. And none of them are geared for the most intelligent, sensitive and imaginative students - the ones you can recognize because of the glazed, dreaming look in their eyes. When I look back on my career in the public schools, I don't think I learned a thing past the fourth grade. In middle school I wondered why I was in classes with Neanderthals, and in high school I partied all the time. I graduated with a D+++ average. I was supposed to not be allowed to graduate, but I had already been accepted to college, and it was obvious the high school administration was glad to get rid of me. The only people I've ever met who enjoyed high school were some cheerleaders and some athletes. In fact, it was the high point of their lives, like Al Bundy in 'Married with Children", and for most of them it's been downhill ever since. I occasionally have this fantasy of burning all the public schools down and salting the ground. And peppering the teachers, too. Well, not really, but you know what I mean. And don't tell me you haven't had the same fantasies, because you have.
Bob Wallace is the author of I Write What I See. Please visit his Shameless Book Promotion Page. And here is his Page Full o' Fun. And this is where he blogs.
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The Most Horrible Dream I've Ever Had...Over and Over and Over