A Metaphorical Death by Firing Squad
Each day the troops line up, check their bullets, sight their guns, take aim, and FIRE! I stand there helplessly riddled by bullets. Then, each night I am resurrected (not through any choice of my own I assure you) by some perverse outside will that seems to enjoy seeing me tortured. As the day gallops forth over the horizon, the entire harrowing experience starts anew. Meanwhile, off to the side sits a petite, golden-pigtailed little girl in a pretty pink taffeta dress with a tiny black heart stitched onto the sleeve. She stares forlornly at her forgotten mound of toys lying haphazardly by the exit. This is the metaphorical picture of my internal struggle to juggle school and life.
Homework is my torturer, my daily executioner who denies me freedom. Yet, to be even more specific, busy work is the true culprit ordering the line of gunmen to open fire. Day in and day out I am battling pi and Newton’s forces; weaving my way through the endless, sticky mazes of matrices that haunt me in my dreams. Just as I duck another mathematical shuriken launched at me by my calculus homework, I whirl around and face the soul-crushing pressure of yet another forces problem dumped upon me by physics. Nor does my torture end there. To face the terrible, nightmarish hedge-mazes produced by linear algebra – stripped of my magical flying calculator – is almost too much for me to bear. Why must I constantly be smothered by mountains of extra work and millions of review problems? Don’t the teachers understand that while yes, practice makes perfect, fried, melted brains oozing out onto the floor just makes a mess!
Of course, college is not the only place that has bombarded me with millions upon zillions of worthless, cumbersome assignments. I remember the days of high school with endless long division, stretching off into the horizon, or piles of chemistry problems demanding the five-hundredth example of oxidation numbers. I suppose drilling us until we start humming the periodic table song in our sleep is one way to get children to remember the building blocks of the universe, or – I’ve got an even better idea – they could just let us see the damn periodic table! Furthermore, instead of forcing us to kill thousands of trees and get carpal tunnel from writing so many steps on solving matrices, how about if we were allowed to let our calculators crunch the numbers for us! But, hey, who am I to be judging such a tried and true method of teaching anyway? After all, I’m pretty much brain-dead post high school, so a little extra brow-beating shouldn’t bother me at all.
Hilariously enough, schools don’t just advocate good grades; they highly encourage well-rounded social lives as well. I suppose I’ve failed on that front considering my inner child (the girl in pink taffeta) hasn’t been seen enjoying life for years. She can’t escape because she’s been permanently walled-in by the endless amounts of tedious work I’ve had to complete. How can the schools expect me to “relax” and “join in” when they put so much weight on grades and force me to take the longest path to finish? I do think learning how to manually solve problems is important, if only to prepare for the potential arrival of a complete machine rebellion. Yet, I think that can be accomplished with a couple of homework problems; then, let those of us who feel up to the challenge use the tools our technology has provided. Maybe after that stipulation is met I can finally be both the social butterfly and the uber-nerd sought after by schools without sacrificing my beauty sleep.
The stomping of boots and clacking of weapons signifies the fast approach of my never-ending torture. The men about-face and all aim their old-fashioned muskets at my head, awaiting the command from the general, Sergeant Tediousness. He fills his lungs, preparing to shout the order to fire when I am handed a rocket launcher through a false back in the wall. I turn it on the men and they flee as one, chasing each other into the sunset. The golden-haired child with the tiny black heart patch steps through the wall with a devious smile on her face. She takes my hand, assures me I’ll be fine, and we walk to the back of the room, straight through the exit.