I had a rare event occur: a childhood flashback. I believe it was triggered by the discussion regarding American bigotry on BrainRant’s blog, then called forward when the girls working out next to me switched the gym TV to Fox News:
One typical work day at the elementary school office, Ms. Robinson (I think? Let’s go with it.) stood before her students with a stoic expression across her face and a handful of sheets pressed to her chest. “Class, this is an exercise on following directions,” she announced with a glint of glee in her eyes. I gave her a stern look while my colleagues chuckled dismissively. “Once I hand you your assignment, I want you to read the instructions first.” Simple.
She walked down our neat rows and coolly placed the sheet face down on our desks. “Can we get started?” an eager voice called to her. “Go right ahead,” she offered. I waited until everyone got their assignment, then flipped mine over. Furious scribbles and anxious chair scrapes carried around me as I caught the first direction.
1) Write your first and last name on the bottom of the sheet.
Mistaken groans and winces grew in crescendo. Eraserheads were decimated.
2) Solve this jumble and write the answer to the side: r y s p u
3) Write the name of the person sitting to your right on the top of the sheet.
The room had fell into concentrated silence.
4) Write down your favorite color, but spell it backwards.
A few students were halted, trying to figure out how to spell out the favorite color normally before inverting it.
And the final direction:
5) Ignore directions 1 through 4. Turn the sheet over, write your name on the back, and take it to my desk for a grade.
A cacaphony of disgust exploded around me. A pencil may have flown across the room. Of the 15-20 students in my class, only three of us followed directions.
I should have said something then, because now these yahoos work in media, in government, and have WAY more money than you or I have yet to see.