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Why I don't do memes

One very simple and stupid reason: they bring out my mulish, cranky, inner fifth-grader, bucking obstinately at “creative writing” assignments.

Around about the end of the third grade, when my handwriting began to be halfway reliable, and other people had half a chance of understanding what I’d written, I started penning my own childish stories, most being inspired by stories I’d read and liked already. One was a Cinderella fan-fic, involving Cinderella getting Fairy Godmother lessons after she married the Prince and going around enacting ludicrous good deeds. Others were based off of TV shows I liked, most notably being (ahem) Full House and the Pound Puppies. So, it was not that creative writing was anything foreign or difficult for me, it was more a matter of it being a leisure-time activity, the fun in which was immediately drained when it was dragged into a formal, academic setting.

My fifth-grade teacher was one of those few who really should have been in another profession, preferably one which didn’t require huge buckets of patience and the younger, rambunctious members of our species. She was slow-witted and high-strung, and a room of mixed-grade children (5th through 8th grades) actually broke her down, to the point where we had substitute teachers for a couple of weeks toward the end of the schoolyear. Indeed, one day she tore off in a huff, leaving my mom, the school janitor, to hold down the fort while a member of the school-board sought out a certified sub.

Back to matters at hand, this teacher had a recipe box full of 6″ X 8″ index cards with creative writing prompts on them, and every couple of days of so, one or the other of us was obliged to remove a card from the front of the box, read the prompt aloud to the class, then put the “used” card in the back of the box. Most of them were decidedly mundane and pedestrian:

“The first thing I think when I walk into the room is:”
“If I were another animal, I’d be _______ because:”
“The color pink means _______ to me because:”
“Why do stars twinkle?”

I’d receive each of these assignments with that hot prickle down the back of my neck, a sensation that I now know signifies that I’m about to get uppity and cross about something entirely irrational. I felt that these assignments were daft, boring, and a terrible waste of time, so I stopped doing them. My grade plummeted, parents were called, tears were shed, and I was given a certian amount of time to make up all of the assignments I had missed. In order to survive such a large and concentrated dose of inane, I started making shit up. Not making shit up, the way the teacher wanted, but defeating my overweening sense of pride and writing things I didn’t care about, whose quality I found dubious at best, appalling at worst. Only one piece out of the entire lot do I remember, and it was my first “literary” parody, a spoof of those “horsey stories” that are so often pitched to and beloved by young girls. It was all rippling muscles, flaring nostrils, and hooves pounding prairie. My teacher loved it and awarded me an A.

Years later, in highschool, on the track bus, some of the other girls and I were amusing ourselves by reading the sexy scenes out of a Harlequin aloud, and I came to the startling realization that those preteen “horsey novels,” seem engineered to prime girls for bodice rippers. Rippling muscles, glistening coats, and hooves pounding prairie later become rippling muscles, sweaty torsoes, and manhoods pounding into dewy flowers of womanhood.

And so, my dear friends, don’t feel slighted when I fail to comment on your memes. I’m over here, taken hostage by a small child with enormous ears, messy hair, and a scowling brow which is nearly meeting her pouting lower lip.

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