Thursday, August 24, 2006

Congratulations!

American schools have always loved to shower their unique snowflake children with awards, deserved or not. Nowadays, it seems that everyone on a team gets trophies for outstanding effort even if they didn't deserve them, because to do otherwise would shatter the fragile psyche of underachieving kids everywhere. This seems like a new phenomenon, but it's actually been around for many years. Here are some samples from my youth and how they should be translated.

Good Citizenship:
Congratulations on not being the guy with the money when some girl accuses the class of stealing a dollar from her desk and the teacher orders all the guys to empty out their pockets! Congratulations on being the only Asian in the class, because black and white kids obviously can't be good citizens.

Tries Hardest in PE:
Congratulations on being able to run the 600 yard dash without giving up even though it takes you ten minutes! Congratulations on not doing any pull-ups and just hanging there for an hour! Congratulations on climbing halfway up the rope!

Most enthusiastic learner:
Congratulations on being the only guy in class that can put the numbers 1 to 100 in the proper order! Congratulations on understanding classroom etiquette when half of the class is a bunch of ADD kindergarten rejects!

Fitness Goals Award:
Congratulations on trying all of the Physical Fitness Tests and only getting a 55%, which isn't even passing when applied to normal grades! Congratulations on being weaker and less fit than 45% of the student body! This award will come in handy when applying to technical and Ivy League schools!

PE Shorts Award:
Congratulations for understanding the concept that gym is offered twice a week and that you should be wearing shorts underneath your pants for those two days so you can strip down and run around the multipurpose room jumping over cones that are twice your height! Congratulations for never having to resort to the ragtag box of abandoned shorts in the nurse's office which probably had scabies, mites, and poop stains on them!

Perfect Attendance:
Congratulations on attending every single class in your sixth grade year! No seriously, you wasted one hundred and eighty days of your life coming to school where you could learn about Mesopotamia and aphids, two subjects that will never again come up in the rest of your natural life. This award will serve as an ironic reminder when you are in your fifth year of college and your attendance rate dips below 25%!

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