Photo: mugley, Flickr Creative Commons
I spent a little time reading old blog posts here yesterday and I started wondering if I'm the only one who reads my writing and feels like they're having a seizure. It seems like when I'm reading my own work that there are starts and stops in the flow of my writing like I had been writing to one rhythm in my head only to suddenly switch to a different rhythm or to lose the rhythm entirely. I don't normally get this jarring feeling when reading the work of other writers. Is it just me? Hopefully, it's just something to do with vaguely remembering the writing process. Normally, I'm not privy to what the author had planned unless that author is me.
Speaking of retarded people, if you want to have hope for the intellectual future of our nation, do not spend time with teenagers. They can sometimes inspire you with their actions and words, but man do they lack anything resembling an intelligent vocabulary. I'm giving a test today and so far I've had multiple students have to ask for the meaning of the following words:
- Optimistic. This word comes up multiple times every year and every year I have to explain what it and pessimistic mean every time, usually to multiple students in the same class because they weren't listening the first time.
- Objective and subjective. I kind of understand this one. It's not used much outside of academic circles and high school students are just getting to that part of their education. Still, I'm pretty sure these concepts should have come up by now.
- Pity. No explanation for this. The student who asked me is not normally lacking in intelligence.
- Outcome. Seriously? This one is should be easier than pity. It's two words you already know combined in a way to suggest the meaning of the word. Also, it was used in a context of goal, motive, outcome. Just read the sentence.
- Studious. This one isn't really used a lot at home, I'm sure, but it sounds like what it means.
Keep in mind that this is a class of 14 and 15 year olds who currently plan on attending college and that at least two students asked for each of these words on separate occasions. And yes, I understand that they are young and they come from a place where it's unlikely their parents have more than a high school education. It doesn't matter how smart you are if you aren't exposed to the vocabulary. I also understand that I'm exceptional in my ability to pick up and use words, a trait my 4-year-old seems to have inherited. (Seriously. He correctly explained the term "symbiotic relationship" to my wife last week after pronouncing it correctly and in the proper context in an unprompted sentence. I do not hold my students to that standard.) Then again, I actually speak the same way to him that I speak to adults. I don't dumb myself down for him, and neither does my wife, really.
I just have to repeat one of my personal mantras. Being a child is a temporary illness. Being a child is a temporary illness.
Dammit, I hate kids.