UPN - Nowhere Man

The Alpha Spike

"Those who can - do. Those who can't - teach. Those who can't teach - teach gym and those who can't do anything - taught at my school."

The above is a close approximation of a line from "Annie Hall." It's also a dead-on description of my experience in the public school system in Teaneck, New Jersey. From the moment my parents decided that I should be "properly schooled" (and this started with pre-school) my "education" began.

I'm reasonably sure that by the end of the fifth or six grade I had a fairly good grasp on reading, writing and 'rithmitic. Had it been taught to the tune of a hickory stick, it might have been a more pleasant experience. I'm not sure what a hickory stick is for, other than rapping students across the knuckles, but it has a quaint and charming sound to it. (Sorta like a "Slim Jim".)

But beyond the "three R" basics, I have to shudder when I consider just what it was that I was being "educated" to do. In no particular order:

The list could be longer, but I write these "tidbits" pretty much "on-the-fly" and, frankly, don't have enough time to do them justice.

As I was noting the items above, it occurred to me that I was fortunate that during my Junior High School years, miniskirts were the fashion of the day. It helped me in two ways: First, I now knew there had to be a God. And two, it gave me something to think about between 8:30 and 3:00. (It's been 27 years since I left school and some things never change.)

By the time I reached the ripe, mature age of 16 - I bailed. No, let me rephrase that. I rocketed, high-tailed it, got my butt out of there as fast as I could. (For the record, I did do a seven month stint at New York University just to prove something to my folks. Having proved it to myself, I stepped away from the world of academics forever.)

Given my ramblings above, it should come as no surprise that I would want to fire a few return shots. The fiction of "Alpha Spike" suggests that Sperling Academy is using mind control techniques; an attempt to brainwash students into groupthink. The effective end result would be a highly controlled population where individuality is condemned and where "rising to mediocrity" is the order of the day.

But, of course, this is just a television show and something from a writer's imagination.

Next week ----

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vidiot at vidiot dot com
Last modified on October 27, 1995