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Posted by tardboy on 06.30.2006 at 13:01
Current Mood: pleasently buzzed
Current Music: A Van Halen chanel on Pandora.com

Well, Mr. and/or Mrs. ______, It would appear that your son/daughter is what we in the education field would call an 'Under-Achiever'. *pained gritting of teeth while averting eyes laterally* You see, It's very apparent to us that he/she is a very, uh, BRIGHT boy/girl, but... he/she, for some reason, has trouble staying focused. He/She just refuses to perform in class for some reason or another.... Now, we're not necessarily blaming YOU!.., but we do have to respond to the fact that his/her grades have been slipping. 

Meanwhile, these were the years that we were in training to be superheroes, super spies, scientific geniuses, artistic geniuses, space explorers, wizards, ninjai, and other manifestations of heroic protagonists. Maybe we were shyer than James Bond and a bit short of as buff as
Arnold. The world of our immediate surroundings, of course, seldom lived up to the standards set by action/sci-fi/fantasy media. Still, adventures were certainly had and amazing skills were developed, and the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" felt like it could actually validly be answered, "A man/woman of mystery and excitement. A hero. Someone with a story worth telling!" Such people are out there. Even the ordinary, boring people of the world can have appreciation for them: Jaques Custeau, Burt Rutan, and even some of the people we meet. As a youngster, greatness is in book after book that we're assigned to read. Aspiration to greatness, at least to you and I, came naturally.

Now ______, have you even heard what I’ve been saying for the last five minutes? I can see by your class notes that you haven’t written any of it down. So when is the next project due? Do you even know what chapters it’s on? How about Cindy, do YOU know when the assignment is due? Very good, Cindy. That’s two weeks from tomorrow, ______, and it counts for 33% of your grade for this class. It’s very important so you SHOULD be paying attention. I just don’t know what this school is going to do with you if you fail Early American History.

At some point or other, you realized that it really IS going to be a rat race out there beyond school. At some point before you graduated, your ‘peers’ started warming up for that race, doing stretches and listening to the coach, even getting scouted for race teams. If a starting pistol were fired, you probably mistook it for something else. While you felt you were making the most of your free time after school, others had places to go and things to do. It all started sometime when you weren’t paying attention. Fellow students were helped onto tracks and given track schedules which listed out the stops along the way to their destinations. Which track were you on? You may not even remember. You got off it fairly early, couldn’t figure out the ticketing system, got busted writing something funny on the wall. You probably noticed that British Secret Service Agent, Jedi, Paladin, and Superhero were not destinations listed. Of course not. But Inventor? Intrepid Explorer? Aren’t there tracks for those? Well, as long as you can hold off that destination by going to college. Maybe take a Rat Behavior class or two. Hey, look! Other non-rats!

Dear Mr./Ms. _______: Thank you for your interest in employment opportunities with our company and for taking the time to interview for the position. While we were impressed with your background and qualifications, we are continuing our search for a candidate who more closely fits our needs for the position. Your resume will be maintained in our active file and, should an opening become available for which you are qualified, it will be subject to review again at that time. In the meantime, thank you for your interest in our company. We wish you success in all your future endeavors. Sincerely, Senior Recruiter, Human Resources Department.

But eventually, you did get some jobs. Maybe you even found a career you could ‘do’. Or not. Hopefully, though, (and I sincerely hope so) you kept true to yourself. You kept that spark alive. You know what spark: the one that flicks when lightning leaps around the sky. It flicks when you pass a really, really awesome tree. The spark that inspires you to hike up less popular trails. It flicks when you see or hear about someone doing something you think is really cool for the sake of doing it, despite many others not appreciating it from their tracks and rat cages. Hopefully you notice sparks in others, too, the non-rats: the wolves, otters, cats, cheetahs, birds, foxes, and dragonflies. Say hello to them, is all I ask. Nod in encouragement. Hang on to those of them you make friends with. That, and when you flicker, flicker brightly, and wear a hero’s costume from time to time. You can be an adventurer/protagonist no matter what your job is. When people ask you what you do, try the answer, “Swashbuckling!”

Sipping on metaphors, Tard_Boy -)---- 

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