Sunday, April 5, 2015

DEAR MRS. BLACKSTONE...

Dear Mrs. Blackstone,

I just found a note from you to my mom. While you sent this note many years ago, I have a few points that I would like to follow up on at this time.
First, Mrs. Blackstone, can you explain your comment that “She has shown much growth in her social skills”? Are you implying that much growth was desperately necessary? I don’t remember being a savage wolf-girl—there was just that one time when I growled out a warning when a kid got too close to my animal crackers. If anything, I was a bit of a tot-zombie. The class photo shows me with all of my hair scraped up on top of my head, a look of frozen horror, and dead, dead eyes that say, “I have 12 more years of this?” That must be it. So, I guess I became less of a tot-zombie on your watch? Well, thank you.

Yet, what of the following line: “…and of course, her academic achievement was a challenge to me.” At first glance, I thought this was a rather nice tribute to my massive, five-year-old brain and highly-praised precision cutting skills (even with those regrettably blunt scissors you provided). On second thought, however, I have the feeling that you were teaching me the gentle art of sarcasm with that comment and meant it as, “She is dumb as a rock and stretches my ability to impart knowledge to the very limit.” If this is the case, Mrs. Blackstone, I would like to meet with you and “conference” about this point. As you might recall, I spent a lot of the year being “your little helper” and reading to other little kids—freeing you to go read your copy of Our Bodies, Our Selves and smoke in the bathroom. Ah, yes. You remember that now? Yet, you did not include that fact in your note to my mother? An understandable oversight, I am sure.

But, let’s just parking lot all of that for the moment and move on to the big picture, shall we? Here is my kindergarten report card.
You recognize it, do you not? It is the first in the long series of documentation that reduces us all to a little series of checkmarks and boxes filled in with a #2 pencil (birth certificates, doctor’s charts, report cards, SATs, GREs, job applications, performance reviews, insurance company forms, credit card companies, death certificates). To cut to the chase, with your little checkmarks, were you pretty much saying that I was a sweet little neurotic—somewhat insecure, occasionally unhappy? Couldn’t you have put really BIG checkmarks for the “No crying and no tantrums and no trying to get attention” part? Because I feel these low-maintenance qualities are very attractive in a kindergartner and on the second page of the form you really bring out some scathing critiques of my performance that might appear to outweigh the low-maintenance stuff.
For example, you say that I showed evidence of inattention and poor hearing (maybe I was bored because you were in the bathroom smoking so much)? I had “average” control of hand and finger movements (how can this be—you always praised my coloring and cutting so very highly)? I had difficulty following directions accurately (maybe it would have helped if you hadn’t been calling out the directions from the bathroom, where you were smoking)? I showed “occasional evidence” of logical thinking (okay, you got me there)?

Oh, oh hold your horses, Mrs. Blackstone. WAIT! My academic achievement was “excellent”? Oh. Okay.

So, Mrs. Blackstone. Did I ever tell you that you were my favorite teacher? Thank you for your time. (Forget what I said about the smoking in the bathroom thing. I'm sure we were all very difficult.)

Sincerely,
Sparkle Plenty

P.S. Remember that little snowman candle I gave you for Christmas? I picked it out myself!