On my way to pick up Ernie for our weekly mentoring session today, I passed a hallway lined with his classmates’ school projects. After discussing the assignment with him during our time together, my brain has reached an inescapable conclusion: Forget English, social studies, and math. This kid needs a lesson in basic criminology!
On examination, I interpreted the pieces adorning the school corridor as promotional posters of the fanciful sort. For instance, one girl’s effort advertised a bunny that lays multicolored Easter eggs. Another entry marketed blankets which tuck themselves in.
I fully expected Ernie’s masterpiece to exceed all others in its attention to unrealistic detail. Yet a thorough search of the wall failed to locate his offering. Not surprisingly, I learned the omission wasn’t accidental.
Upon retrieving the boy from his classroom, I pointed to the display and asked: “What’s this assignment about?”
Just as I’d assumed, Ernie confirmed that each student had to create a poster advertising for sale a new product of his or her devising, replete with a pictorial representation of the merchandise, pertinent slogans, and pricing.
“Didn’t you make one?” I inquired.
“Yeah, and it’s awesome!” He enthusiastically replied.
“Do tell,” I urged.
Gleefully, he obliged: “I call it the ‘Juggernaut 6000.’ It’s a robot with body armor and a laser canon. Its neck swivels; its eyes have motion sensors; and there’s a video camera in its head.”
“What’s your slogan?” I asked.
Ernie pondered for a second or two before answering: “I think I said: ‘Tired of people stealing your iPods, games and toys? Don’t want people snooping inside your closet? Then get the Juggernaut 6000 to protect you! Put him in your bedroom and he’ll spot anyone who touches your stuff. If they don’t say the password, he’ll video what they do so you can catch them later! …”
I interrupted Ernie to ask: “How much you charging for this wonder of home defense?”
“$19.99!” He exclaimed.
“I like it! So, why isn’t it hanging with all the others?”
Ernie sighed before dejectedly explaining: “Ms. McDaniel said she wouldn’t dare show it unless I make some changes.”
Puzzled, I interjected: “I don’t get it; I didn’t hear anything so objectionable about your poster.”
“That’s ’cause I didn’t get to it yet,” he conceded. “My poster says the Juggernaut’s laser canon has a working death ray that vaporizes any robbers. Ms. McDaniel didn’t like that part too much, but she really hated the line I put after it: ‘Works on nosy mothers too!’”