Our World Tueday: My Adventure Inside my Head

A good friend of mine called me Saturday morning, and in the course of our conversation, she suggested I go on an adventure this weekend. I told her I would. Except that here on Topsail when it's May and the sun is up, there's no place to go. When it rains, though.....

....Then the adventures are on the inside. (Which is what she meant, anyway.) I decided my first adventure during Saturday's guerrilla rains that attacked stage left (leaving me to close only some windows because the other side of the house was bone dry), I got out my daughter's watercolors and pads of paper, called her for permission to use them, and began to do the assignment I gave my students last week.

You're dying to know how this can be an adventure. It's like this. I'm a nerd, and I don't ask my kids to do anything I wouldn't thoroughly enjoy doing myself. I had asked my students to consider Ayn Rand's odd little allegorical novella Anthem because all the other sophomores were reading it and we pretty much had to. I told them Rand gives me the willies and I didn't like her writing and I didn't accept her premises and I'm only glad she didn't have children and that she's safely dead--but we should think about her ideas anyway because they are thriving in the minds and political action of some of the staunchest conservatives in our country. In short, Auntie Ayn is haunting our world. In real terms: In her mind, this school should not exist and you should pay to go to a school. If the average prep school where I come from runs about $22,000 a year, how educated might you become, and how well will your siblings do out there in the fields of--Wal-Mart? Chilling....

After I loaded the deck like that, I told them not to see it my way just because I said so anymore than they should go along with Rand just because she said so and a local bank made a gift of these books to the school and bragged about it on the bookplates--which bank, I pointed out, required its employees to read Atlas Shrugged.  Required, children, I said. What's that about? I went to that bank's web page for its "charitable foundation" and learned that it has this foundation to promote the "moral basis of capitalism." Which took me aback because who's worrying about the moral basis of capitalism? We all want to grow up, make money, and live well with a little left over (nowadays) to go out for dinner or buy an ice cream or support our favorite cause--whether it's supporting capitalism or helping out stranded sea turtles or curing cancer. (Deadly irony here: a charitable foundation to support capitalism.....)

The assignment that has my children riveted and wishing we didn't have a long weekend (in my mind) was to extend the allegory Rand began by creating a story board. Having found that utopia on the side of a hill called someone else's house full of clothes, light bulbs, books, and kitchen gadgets (Really. I've read the thing four times. It's there.), what do our heroes, Liberty and Equality, do next?

Here's my version.

Liberty and Equality are modeled on the Everyman and Everywoman who adorn public restroom doors everywhere. I am a sick person; I did this on purpose. The purpose: to teach my kids that allegorical characters are flat; they are ideas that move through the plot to make a point. Anyway, they spent the weekend in my classroom, stark naked. So I made clothes for them




From May 28, 2012

I have these guys wearing their Charter Oak Uniforms of the People by the People for the People inspired by that first constitution declaring the primacy of coopertion. (Connecticut's charter, in case you never got that commemorative quarter in your small change.) These guys head into New York City, where all that money making goes on, and they rescue Fraternity, which homeless soul has been mugged outside his tent by some laissez-faire practicing hobo whose letting the panhandling market take care of itself. Rescued, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity stand together, and it's a new day in the public (this is significant) park.
From May 28, 2012

But look! Ayn Rand is angered by all this selfess cooperation and she is heaping her tomes on the vulnerable heads of out good heroes. Fear not, fellow Americans. The threesome survive the abuse and go on to build a humble community of solid and strong libraries, schools, parks, hospitals--by and for the people. (There's that theme again.) These things sit on roads created by and for the people (I'm being pedantic. Sorry.).

Finally, we have to stop and think that these values we cherish with a fair few piles of hard-earned cash thrown in make this America, where the selfish and the selfless are always checking each other. We do what we can with our public school educations--which public schools manage to churn out people whose minds reflect a range of political beliefs. Go figure, and God bless America.

There my adventure ends not. This morning I made good on a promise to my classes: to bake the best brownies in the world. I am bragging. But they're only the best because I pay attention when I read the recipe on the Hershey's chips that someone else forumlated. These students won a competition between my classes to enact Homer's Iliad. My colleague's AP class watched my videos of their performances and graded them. The incentive? Carbohydrates in the most delightful of forms. We call it a party. That's tomorrow.

(Am I a closet Randian, and did I motivate these kids to suit my own purpose of trying to look good by trying to lock in their success? Nope. I was going to make these brownies anyway. Homer just gave me a deadline. The dead Greek rocks. So does public education. Thank you for your tax dollars, even if you didn't want to give them to me.)


P.S.  Here are brownies that never were in the box:



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Our World Tuesday

Comments

  1. Interesting,my stories from the mind are mainly out of this world.lol

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  2. Terrific and different for you, Sandy, and I love it -- and the brownies as well! Hope you've had a great weekend!

    Sylvia

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  3. I never liked Ayn Rand
    I dreaded living in her world.
    Its pretty cold.
    Man is not an island.
    The cookies were a great learning experience lol

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  4. Anonymous6:19 PM

    Yummy!

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  5. Thanks for the virtual treat! :) Most tempting.

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  6. Love your story!! Quite entertaining!
    And those brownies...yum!!
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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  7. those brownies look decadent-I've disocvered pillsbury sugar free brownies-not as good but edible,.sounds like you are continuing to challenge your students!

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  8. No public schools?? Please deliver us from such thought. You can deliver some of those brownies though. gosh I am hungry now. MUST have chocolate.

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  9. thank you for irises and brownies!

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  10. Oh, I enjoyed this post, you usually only share pictures and disclose very little of your contemplations, so I enjoyed getting into your mind a bit more.;))
    xoxo

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