If I added an additional hard square of gum to the rich material already processing up and down in my mouth, I could blow a bubble in a bubble in a bubble.
Such oral calisthenics took practice and were not without the travails of the sport: large circular broken bubble gum grafts that plastered themselves to my tiny face or lopsided bubbles, blown too big, that drifted into my pigtail and stuck in a gossamer spider web of mess.
The art of blowing a bubble in a bubble is about the deliberate act of creation, the careful attempt to place one gem inside or by another. It’s about symmetry.
But what about sloppiness?
Read the hastily conceived note sent home last week by a local elementary school to parents. Here is the text of the note:
The 4th grade writing assessment is part of the STAR testing. This assessment measures
4th graders’ ability to write in response to a writing prompt. Your child’s attendance is
important. Please make every effort to have your child well rested, has had a good
breakfast, and is to school on time.
What we have here is an absurd message. The last line is a mess. And don’t well-meaning parents try to send their children to school rested, on time, and fed? Shouldn’t this request be made of parents every day, not just one special day?
Let’s assume the following scenario unfolded in the hasty writing of this note: The principal directed her already harried secretary to write the note ASAP, duplicate it, and send it to all 4th grade classrooms by 2:15 pm. The office T.A. ran the note, hot off the press, down to the 4th grade teacher. In the teacher’s rush to get that note into her students’ hands, she did not proofread it herself. The kids stuffed it into their backpacks between their binders and their lunchboxes. The lavender note crinkled.
I am hoping the teacher did not write this note.
Because a shiny ladybug landed on this sad declarative set of sentences, a mother, tired from her day, stopped and read. Good point, she said. I must fix Victor oatmeal in the morning.
Yesterday, a writing teacher shared his students’ papers with me. Middle schoolers, they were working on their third drafts. One student, Roger, had written the following sentence:
Coming to Mill Creek Academy and having Mr. Richards as my teacher, gave me bliss in my stomach.
Later in the hour, I visited Mr. Richards’ classroom. Eight students sat around a table. I asked if I could join the discussion. They were arguing about the use of the word ungainly.
Before I left, I asked Roger if he really had bliss in his stomach. We all laughed. I glanced back; Roger was thinking about his word choice and whether or not it had conveyed his blissful feeling.
If only the secretary (or teacher?) had done the same with her note.
Is sending a note home about writing, in poor writing, like a
popped bubble in a bubble?