~ 6-Year-Old Stares Down Bottomless Abyss Of Formal Schooling ~

Note: This article is taken from The Onion, a heavily satirical Web site, and it was posted 8.15.08 at http://www.theonion.com/content/news/6_year_old_stares_down_bottomless. If you have never read The Onion and you opt to visit their site, use caution. Entertaining, but can be offensive. Not a kids’ site.

Also, I am wondering how many of you will actually be saddened by this article. Is it really funny? I realize I am preachin’ to the choir.  🙂

Here you go!

CARPENTERSVILLE, IL—Local first-grader Connor Bolduc, 6, experienced the first inkling of a coming lifetime of existential dread Monday upon recognizing his cruel destiny to participate in compulsory education for the better part of the next two decades, sources reported.

“I don’t want to go to school,” Bolduc told his parents, the crushing reality of his situation having yet to fully dawn on his naïve consciousness. “I want to play outside with my friends.”

While Bolduc stood waiting for the bus to pick him up on his first day of elementary school, his parents reportedly were able to “see the wheels turning in his little brain” as the child, for the first time in his life, began to understand how dire and hopeless his situation had actually become.

Basic math—which the child has blissfully yet to learn—clearly demonstrates that the number of years before he will be released from the horrifying prison of formal schooling, is more than twice the length of time he has yet existed. According to a conservative estimate of six hours of school five days a week for nine months of the year, Bolduc faces an estimated 14,400 hours trapped in an endless succession of nearly identical, suffocating classrooms.

This nightmarish but undeniably real scenario does not take into account additional time spent on homework, extracurricular responsibilities, or college, sources said.

“I can’t wait until school is over,” said the 3-foot-tall tragic figure, who would not have been able, if asked, to contemplate the amount of time between now and summer, let alone the years and years of tedium to follow.

The concept of wasting a majority of daylight hours sitting still in a classroom when he could be riding his bicycle, playing in his tree fort, or lying in the grass looking at bugs—especially considering that he had already wasted two years of his life attending preschool and kindergarten—seemed impossibly unfair to Bolduc. Moreover, sources said, he had no idea how much worse the inescapable truth will turn out to be.

Shortly after his mommy, homemaker Ellen Bolduc, 31, assured him that he would be able to resume playtime “when school lets out,” Connor’s innocent brain only then began to work out the implication of that sentence to its inevitable, soul-crushing conclusion.

When pressed for more detail on the exact timing of that event, Mrs. Bolduc would only reply “soon.” At that point, the normally energetic child grew quiet before asking a follow-up question, “After [younger sister] Maddy’s birthday?” thereby setting the stage for the first of thousands of rushing realizations he will be forced to come to grips with over the course of his subsequent existence.

Madison Ellen Bolduc was born on Sept. 28.

After learning that the first grade will continue for eight excruciating months beyond that date, it was only a matter of time before Bolduc inquired into what grade comes after first grade, and, when told, would probe further into how many grades he will have to complete before allowed to play with his friends.

The answer to that fatal question—12, a number too large for Bolduc to count on the fingers of both hands—will be enough to nearly shatter the boy’s still-forming psyche, said child psychology expert Eli Wasserbaum.

“When you consider that it doesn’t include another four years of secondary education, plus five more years of medical school, if he wants to follow his previously stated goal to grow up to be a doctor like his daddy, this will come as an interminably deep chasm of drudgery and imprisonment to [Connor],” said Wasserbaum. “It’s difficult to know the effect on his psychological well-being when he grasps the full truth: that his education will be followed by approximately four decades of work, bills, and taxes, during which he will also rear his own children to face the same fate, all of which will, of course, be followed by a brief, almost inconsequential retirement, and his inevitable death.”

“Even a 50-year-old adult would have trouble processing such a monstrous notion,” Wasserbaum added. “Oh my, I’m 50 years old.”

The first of Bolduc’s remaining 2,299 days of school will resume at 8 a.m. tomorrow. On the next 624 Sundays, he will also be forced to attend church.


3 Responses to ~ 6-Year-Old Stares Down Bottomless Abyss Of Formal Schooling ~

  1. lrecker says:

    Thanks for the post. I too enjoy an occasional trip over to theonion.com, but you’re right, it’s not for kids.



  2. Christopher says:

    It’s difficult to ascertain just what humor was being sought in this article. The “Sources say” type quotes would indicate the writer thought he/she was being funny, but the humor, as the writer seemingly thought, is lost on me. This is a tragic piece, and the only humor contained therein is perhaps the lack of understanding by the author.

    Apparently, the writer has no idea of the true tragedy being perpetrated on that helpless child. In the article, the child and his parents are the joke, not the system. The perversion of the author’s thought processes is both horrifying and laughable at the same time. Sure, this could be an insightful look into the education system, but that is doubtful.

    Perhaps the article was written by someone still in the clutches of the government school system, and was merely venting his/her frustrations. The angst displayed is not about education per se, it’s about how the institutions of education are run. The education road is indeed long, but not one that must send everyone rushing out to obtain prescriptions for anti-depressants (though the author seems to be a likely candidate).

    The final sentence, referring to church attendance, displays a further lack of perception. Our children look forward to attending church services, and do not regard their trip there as a cattle car delivery to a death camp.

    There is nothing humorous about how our children are treated vis-a-vis the governmental/institutional education system.

  3. urthemom says:

    Christopher, You are *SO* right on in everything you say. Thank you for sharing!!

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