I’ve noticed that it’s time to buy school supplies for the new season of readin’, writin’ and cellphones. I was waiting to back my work trailer into the yard today while being ignored by a young girl on a bicycle with a cellphone stuck to her ear, completely oblivious to me. It’s official: you can’t ride a bike any more than you can drive a car while engrossed in a cell conversation.
And I wonder how it is that we learn anything in schools anyway. It’s a learned response: you take in enough information to pass a test, then you promptly forget it. Years later, you don’t even remember what it was you were supposed to have learned. Then you become a parent and you’re supposed to help your child(ren) to make sense of quadratic equations or something. As if.
I was reading the paper in a restaurant earlier in the week and showed a funny name in the obituaries to a waitress and thinking she would find it funny was surprised when she painfully sounded out each syllable, unable to just read the words. How is it that such people graduate from high school? And how many functionally illiterate students cannot even sound out words?
I was cursed with an editor’s eye. Often, I no sooner post a blog than I glance at it and notice a typo. I see poorly spelled billboards and oh, internet forums, don’t get me started. I don’t recall getting high grades in my high school English courses, so I have no idea where this pedantic side of me materialized from. Nor can I understand why others are so different.
Perhaps one of these days I will post a collection of wrongful homonyms and deplorable grammar. Such as Richard Lederer have turned it into a cottage industry.
As the sun returns to his winter home and the children return to their seats we can hope that in some schools here and there courses will be taught that emphasize critical thinking. While they’re learning French declensions and how to find Waldo on a map maybe some brave teacher will ask them how to know what they know and how to test what they believe. I suppose it’s a lot to ask of people who themselves take a lot for granted, who are sure God belongs in the Pledge, and that the Pledge belongs in a free country; who have certainty that the earth is less than 10,000 years old and that it was made just for us; who think morals are based on religious teachings about a psychopathic deity; who think that those of us who disagree with them are not even United States citizens.
Luckily, once the let the little demons out of the asylum they’re pretty much free to learn what suits their fancy, and these days it seems that many are abandoning the faith of their fathers and striking out on their own – in spite of what they’re taught rather than because of it.
Religion seems to be having dog days, too.