Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Power of Negative Thinking

You're familiar, I assume, with those day-glo, smiley-face motivational stickers even high school teachers plaster across the tops of students’ papers when they have no time or little else to offer — silly platitudes such as “Super” and “Great Job” and “Bound for Success” and “Shining Success.” It's all part of America's obsession with self-esteem by way of self-delusion.

Certainly, there are countless bright, informed, hard-working young people out there who'll end up in UT's Plan II program or the Marching Owl Band or a College Station drunk tank, but let's not fool ourselves: If teachers didn't fear for their jobs or necks, they'd find plenty of use for stickers such as these...

• You’re the reason teachers would rather work at Wal-Mart.
• I had hoped you wouldn't turn this in.
• If only you were better looking.
• Not even your mother would read this.
• We'd raise the bar, but it would jab you in the ankle.
• Ignorant is curable. Stupid isn’t.
• AIG was too big to fail. You aren't.
• If only the coaches cared whether you passed.
• Dropped or kicked in the head: which was it?
• Ask me about home-schooling.
• Consistently wrong isn't a virtue.
• If all kids were like you, the U.S. would be Somalia in a week.
• What a shock. This is almost correct.
• Strike four.
• Drop out now. Avoid the rush.
• God awful, but your best effort yet!
• Skip school. Your grades won't suffer, and no one will miss you.
• If you expended less effort, you’d suffocate.
• Learn to rap. It's your only hope.
• You make everyone else look good.
• He shoots! He misses!
• Are you paid to be this dumb?
• Even Obama couldn't bail this out.
• If your brains were gunpowder, you wouldn't have enough to blow your nose.
• I’ve read worse. Once. Years ago.
• You have a future as a crash test dummy.
• It's not too late to be adopted by a pack of wolves.
• Ever consider asking a third grader?
• You’re kidding, right? Please tell me you're kidding.