Edumacation

Published on February 10th, 2016 | by Richard Black

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The “F*ck It” Syndrome

UF_JesusStatue_021016Recently Darcy, my five year old,has decided that she doesn’t like school. I spent a considerable amount of time ignoring the issue and, with the help of the Lord and nine or ten beers a day I’ve managed to keep my concerns at bay.

Unfortunately self medication wasn’t going to solve the problem. Darcy’s complaint is that learning is “hard” and I couldn’t agree with her more. I haven’t learned anything new in the past ten or fifteen years and I like to think that I’m a better, more peaceful, person for my ignorance.

Unfortunately Darcy has quite a bit of education in front of her and, if the past few months have been any indication, it’s going to be a long twelve years. Intervention on some level was clearly required. The very next day after I picked my daughter up from school I sprang an impromptu math and writing lesson upon her with the hope of killing two birds with one stone.

As with most events in my life it was an absolute catastrophe and both of us ended up in tears. I have some great qualities but it quickly became apparent that teaching wasn’t one of them. After a sum total of five minutes I gave up.

“Fuck it,” I muttered under my breath and then briefly considered the thought that my daughter may have inherited one of my more less than productive traits. I call it the “Fuck it” syndrome and it has two primary symptoms. The first is a desire to downplay any bit of learning that is not of immediate value and the second is tendency to disregard anything that does not come easily.

The next day I went back at it again. After dealing with the “Fuck it” syndrome for the better part of four decades I’ve learned a few things. A new approach was clearly in order.

I picked her up from school and decided to focus on math rather than reading as we all know that the written word is pretty much all but dead.

Math, as far as kindergarten is concerned, consists of “games”. I’m putting the word “games” in quotation marks because it implies that the activity is nominally enjoyable. It is not. The only people who consider these sorts of activities to be “fun” in the broadest sense of the word are sadomasochists, the occasional kindergartner and heavily sedated wards of the state.

UF_BoredNosePicker_021016

Dear dad. I’d rather pick my nose than watch you flip another quarter. Give me my cough medication. PS You Suck

If you find that flipping a coin one hundred times and noting the result on a piece of paper to be a good time then I highly encourage you to have your head examined. For the next few days I spent an agonizing thirty minutes every afternoon flipping quarters and rolling dice before having Darcy pen the results on paper

The process would have been marginally more enjoyable if my daughter was remotely interested in the material which, of course, she wasn’t. Darcy met most of the exercises with a tepid level of enthusiasm at best and at worst… well suffice it to say that men and women have knowingly gone to their deaths with greater aplomb.

There was, in all honesty, a lot of whining and pleading on both parts and after a few days I threw in the towel before muttering those two short words. There are only so many rolls of the dice or coin flips a man is capable of cajoling his daughter to note before someone has a psychotic episode.

The next day I introduced Darcy to the card game “Memory” which I even recall thinking was an inspired and well-thought out decision. I’ve been playing cards for years. It’s always been something of a tradition in my family. Many years ago when I was a boy my sister and I would sit down with my grandmother to play “War” or “Go Fish” or “Crazy Eights” and even, at times, “Memory”.

If you’ve never been subjected to the game “Memory” let me tell you how it’s played. The game begins by placing the fifty two cards in a standard deck face down in a grid. The object of the game is to match pairs. One player picks up the card on the grid, turns it over, and then attempts to pair it with a card of similar value. The winner is the player who makes the most matches.

Darcy quickly showed an aptitude for “Memory” and became frighteningly proficient. Within the span of a half an hour I suddenly became much more concerned about the precipitous decline of my mental faculties than my daughter’s aptitude for learning.

It turns out that memory is incredibly important when playing the

UF_Dementia_021016

Now where did I put that beer

game of the same name, a fact I might have been able to remember if I didn’t have the short term memory of a ferret with a learning disability. Pride forbids me from mentioning how many games I’d lost before I called it quits. Actually that’s a lie. My memory is so terrible that I can’t even recall that particular fact.

After congratulating Darcy on her numerous wins I muttered those two little words under my breath once again and went off to cook dinner or stumble around the house for a few days to look for some ginkgo biloba.

I really couldn’t say because I don’t remember and have chosen not to care. Fuck it.

 

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