Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Story 126: Industrial Revolution Charter School

(Severe-looking schoolmistress faces a family of four)
Schoolmistress: Welcome to the Industrial Revolution Charter School.  You made the right decision in enrolling with us: our philosophy is that there will be no whiny, weak, sissy-baby children or parents in any of the families who participate in our program.  Any signs of cowardice or self-pity will be drilled out of you with our regime of good old-fashioned backbreaking labor and deprivation.
(Family of four move to a two-room shack and sleep on the floor.  At 4:00 a.m., Schoolmistress blows a whistle by their ears)
Schoolmistress: Rise and shine before the sun does, my lovelies!  Move!  Move!  Move!
(The family rushes through their breakfast of cold gruel and walk five miles to school in the pre-dawn hours, accompanied by Schoolmistress shouting encouragement from her buggy)
Schoolmistress: Literally uphill both ways!  Ahahahahaha!
(The school is a factory)
Schoolmistress: Today, children, you will be using your wee fingers to run thread through machines for 14 hours, while Mom and Dad will be using whichever developed muscles they may or may not have to haul coal and work the assembly line of whatever textile is being manufactured here.  There will be one 15-minute break for food, but you will then need to make that time up at the end of the day.  Even though this is school, you technically are working so you will each receive 12¢ by shift’s end – I suggest you spend it on food to fuel yourselves for the next day of work.
(As the family work in the factory, Schoolmistress issues orders through a bullhorn from the upstairs office)
Schoolmistress: Faster!  No slackening the pace or you’ll be terminated!  Just push any creative or lazy thoughts out of your mind and focus on the task at hand!  You’re not being paid to dream on duty!
(At the end of the day, the exhausted family walk home through coal dust for the full effect.  They collapse on the floor of the shack’s main room)
Schoolmistress: Just what do you think you’re doing?  The floors aren’t going to scrub themselves, that rug’s needed beating for hours, dinner needs to be whipped up, clothes need to be wrung out, and lice need to be searched for!  On the double, slackers!
(The family members scatter to their chores; hours later, they collapse on the floor of their shared bedroom)
Schoolmistress: Right, you get five hours of sleep – don’t waste them.
(At the end of the program)
Schoolmistress: I have not heard one complaint from this family, and they will now be able to view any so-called disaster as the mild-disturbance it really is.  They have truer characters now than they ever would have had they been allowed to continue the way they were behaving previously 24/7.
Daughter: I don’t wanna go to school!
Son: I don’t wanna clean my room!
Mom: I don’t wanna face my life of emptiness!
Dad: I don’t wanna sit through another activity of middle-class comfort!
Family of Four: [Silence of gratitude for their daily bread and rest]
Schoolmistress: See?  A sense of perspective always silences entitled whining.