What Is and What Should Never Be

We were all looking forward to returning to our favorite foods after almost a year away from home. For months Dax craved Backyard Burgers, McKane dreamt of Tollhouse cookie dough, and the little kids pined for Oreo ice cream. While all these delicacies are still here, we’ve discovered that some of our favorites have changed, and we’ll have to fly across an ocean or two to get them. It turns out nothing’s better than an Argentine steak in the evening or Vietnamese pho (noodle soup) in the morning.

Barring any immediate international travel, I realized it might help to look for some new domestic favorites. The key for me with food has always been ease and portability. Hearth and home are wonderful, but I’m impatient and would rather do almost anything than cook. (Fortunately for the kids, Tom compensates for my deficiency.) So, much to my foodie friends’ chagrin, my perfect sustenance can be held in my hand and eaten while in transit or performing other tasks. This is why in the past I relished the convenience and tastiness of Quik Trip’s 99 cent beef taquito. Alas, as with most things I like, my beloved taquitos were 86’ed in favor of a spicy version which left me sputtering. It was therefore with the highest of hopes that last week I purchased a new 99 cent alternative, the stuffed breadstick. I had my doubts, namely that nacho beef and Italian herb bread could make a good flavor marriage, but I figured it merited a one dollar experiment. I immediately regretted my choice. I’m not sure who decided these two things belonged together, but Quik Trip might want to consider moving him/her to a different job. Come to think of it, the stuffed breadstick creator might well be the same person who thought it was a good idea to leave the “c” out of quick, though he may simply have lifted the idea from Nestle and their chocolate-loving bunny.

Quik Trip stuffed bread stick... yum?

My experience with the stuffed breadstick was an unpleasant reminder that some things should simply never be. Upon further reflection and a week of my children attending Georgia public schools, it hit me: maybe Quik Trip’s problem resides in its utter disregard for the rules of the English language. Their most excellent soda fountains are the source of much delight for our family, but according to McKane’s English teacher, Quik Trip has little hope of succeeding in this life. You see, my 12-year-old, frighteningly high-IQ son was required to complete a 20-question worksheet which claimed it could predict with 80% accuracy his future income and occupational level. Having inherited his Ivy-league father’s poor grammar gene, he managed to score in the second lowest bracket and thereby was promised an annual income of $10,000-20,000 and an occupational level of “unskilled” (a few more points off and he would have found himself “unemployable”). Tom, who earns quite a bit more than this, didn’t score much better. I, who currently earn nothing, score in the highest bracket and should apparently be a top executive earning more than $150,000. The teacher, who could probably match my performance, undoubtedly earns much less than this unless she runs a business on the side. So far that’s 0% accuracy.

Bad Grammar Kills

What really irks me is not the silly worksheet–they’re a fact of life where we live–but the fact that the kids were made to raise their hands when the teacher called their category so all their peers would be aware just how hopeless their futures are. Fortunately McKane has seen and experienced enough in the world to recognize the inherent absurdity and shrug it off. He’s met brilliant people who work for free, poor people whose intelligence far exceeds their income, and children with no material possessions who are happy just to be alive. I only hope the other students who fell short don’t need a trip around the world to bolster their self-esteem.

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7 thoughts on “What Is and What Should Never Be

  1. I am constantly reminded of the inadequacies (pardon my spelling) of tests. My husband is EXTREMELY intelligent and is a mechanic. Why is he a mechanic you ask? Because he was told his entire life he was unintelligent because he reads poorly. Instead of finding out why and doing something about it, they just told him he was stupid. SERIOUSLY! His mother actually told me she knew at least one of us was smart (speaking of myself and my husband)…so he had no hope. Now, when he takes ASE certification tests, he struggles because he was never taught how to fix his reading issues…Oh, this makes me crazy! I could really get on a soapbox (oh wait, I did!!)!! I am so thankful your children are blessed with you two as parents, at least they can realize their potential DESPITE ridiculous tests and forced raising of the hands such as these!!!

  2. Dear Anne,

    God, I love your blog. I loved your entries when you were travelling around the world; I remember the harrowing roads in New Zealand via camper, the wild animals in the middle of the night in Africa, the volunteer experiences in India. But you know what, you blog exceptionally no matter where you are. Thank you, excellent entry regarding, unfortunately, an all too common experience. BTW you have inspired my family of six (youngest is 2) to homeschool and travel to Europe this year.

    All the best,


  3. I want to take the test :) Can you send it to me? I’d love to know where I score as well as the rest of my team.

    Talk to you soon

  4. All I have to say is, “ugh.” What a wonderful way to promote self-confidence in our future leaders. (rolls eyes)

  5. They may only just have started, but it’s time for you guys to read “A Thomas Jefferson Education” by Oliver Van DeMille and pull your kids outta school ASAP!!!!!
    I’ve never said anything like this to anybody ever before! But I just know you guys could do it.
    Failing that, get the book and do it AS WELL as school……but my guess is within six mopnths the kids’ll be *home* (wherever that is) fulltime and you’ll be travelling again!

  6. That story about your son is just so sad and also so typical of schools and how they harm our children. It must be hard to give up the freedom you were living in without it.

    I, like the poster above, have to agree, pull them out of school and that toxic environment ASAP. Homeschool kids learn more and do better at Univ. …even without any travel.

    Have you read award winning teacher Gatto on why schools do not work?


    They can have the freedom of travel and family bonding time, even while home. Many homeschooled kids start community college at 11 and learn what they want to learn, plus have time for their passions and families.

    This world needs out-of-the-box thinkers and schools are not usually good places for smart kids.

    The Lion Children might be a good read for all of you too and inspire your own book.

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