Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

 Come visit me at my new home, 

At the beginning of each school year, it is an American tradition for our little children to write the obligatory “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” essay for their new teachers.  The exercise provides the new teacher a glimpse into what makes that new student tick, and helps the teacher to get to know the student beyond the standardized test scores and their plagiarized science fair presentations.  For the most part, the scribbled paragraphs describe harmless fun.  Once these personal essays are written, handed in, and read aloud in class, they usually disappear into a box of memorabilia in the attic or worse, become the raw material for spitballs.

Not every essay gets transformed into gobs of schoolhouse ammunition, however.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, MSRP was able to access a particular essay once thought lost forever.  It was only a matter of time before a document such as this surfaced, and became grist for political operatives during a competitive election cycle.  Pundits no doubt will twist the words of this childhood essay, arguing that it provides the reader with insight into the psyche of a future President during his formative years.  I disagree, but you can be the judge.  I think it describes an innocent boy that loves playing in caves.  What little boy doesn’t? 

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Barry O’Bama
Grade 5 (recently downgraded from Grade 6)

Summer is my favorite time of year.  I love vacations because it helps me forget all my troubles for a few months.  This summer, I found that I have a passion for something that I had never experienced before.  I was warned that this activity could be addictive, and that it could become dangerous if not done right.  I looked at all my fun summer options, and decided this was the best activity for me.  I discovered the joy of caving, and I think I love it!

The kids in my neighborhood that live down the street on the far right encouraged me to try caving.  I was skeptical.  My friends that live in the blue houses on my left were not too fond of my idea for a new hobby.  They told me that caving was dangerous, and that the kids from the far right down the street were lying to me.   All the kids from the left side of the street told me that once I caved at their suggestion, the kids from the right wouldn’t come along.  They said I would be abandoned in a dark place all by myself where no one could hear me.

I caved anyway.  I thought that caving would make me popular, and make me look mature and grown up.  It hasn’t worked so far.  Everybody says my new hobby makes me look weak.    The other kids stayed home and talked about me behind my back.  The kids from the right side of the street passed notes in class that said I was stupid for caving, when it was their idea in the first place!  I guess I shouldn’t have trusted them.

I was mad, but I stayed cool and aloof.  That will show those guys, I thought.

After my first successful caving, I wanted to do it all the time, even though the kids in the neighborhood fought about it.  My friends on the right told me that my friends from the left were only nice to me because they wanted to control me and stop me from caving all the time.  My friends on the left told me that the friends from the right were only nice to me so they could manipulate me.  I don’t know who is right, but one thing is for sure – caving is easy!

You have to be careful when you cave a lot.  There is always the risk that you’ll get trapped.  It is a good idea when caving to bring along a friend, but no one has wanted to follow me yet.  The last time I went caving this summer, I forget to tell anyone at home where I was going.  That was a mistake.  My entitlement allowance got cut by 20%!!!  I wish I had known that before I decided to cave. 

I’ve found that regular caving seems to fit my personality.  Like me, caving is cool and detached from light of day.  I might try sky diving next year so my summer has more of a balanced approach.  I think I’d like that.  I’ll see what everyone else in the neighborhood thinks first, though.  I still want a chance at Student Council next year.

I learned that caving takes you to dark and lonely places.  I shouldn’t like it as much as I do, but I am not afraid.  Next summer, I think I’ll continue to cave.  This time, however, I will bring all my friends from the left side of the street along.  The trick will be convincing them that caving was their idea all along.  It will be tough, but I can pull it off.  I am a very good talker.

I didn’t make many friends through caving this summer.  My new found love of caving has impacted my popularity around town, and not in a good way.  I guess I am not surprised.  After a summer of caving, you could back a little dirty, a little smelly, and a little tired.  It is not the most glamorous approach to summer vacation.  I had fun so I think I did the right thing.  I hope everyone comes to realize that caving isn’t so bad, and in fact, if you cave often enough, you might find that it gets you somewhere.

I hope that change of attitude happens in my neighborhood before next summer.    

Teacher’s handwritten comment:  "Barry – Well written, but please be careful when deciding to cave in the future.  We don’t want you to disappear someday."

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