Avoid trying to publicly shame a ballet mistress who can write.
This morning, someone pseudonymously spammed the parent email list at my daughter’s ballet school, with a scolding complaint about a delayed cast list. It read, in part: “We pay our fees on time…. We received the email to donate to the school’s fundraiser this week on time. But no cast List. This is a teachable moment to demonstrate that being on time, especially when a promise is involved, is important.”
The school’s response, posted about a half hour later, ended thus: “Emailing using an address we can not identify and failing to sign your email shows a lack of conviction. Failing to understand that it is a relatively easy thing to discover your identity through your IP address is another indication that your action was not thought through. If the lessons you wanted to teach here were your own ignorance, arrogance and cowardice, you’ve succeeded.”
The whole response is worth a sincere, rousing “slow clap”.
ME (with crouton tongs in one hand and salad plate in the other; cheerfully): Excuse me.
HAPPY PERSON WEARING HEADPHONES (to friends): Ha ha ha!
ME (less cheerfully): Excuse me…
HAPPY PERSON WEARING HEADPHONES (to friends) Ha ha ha ha!
ME (a little louder): Excuse me?
If your writing teacher lets you revise your first draft, don’t just submit a cleaner, less-beat-up version of the same beat-up sedan. Instead, take it apart, hold each piece in your hand, and make your second draft a pink monster truck, a time-traveling DeLorean, or a solar-powered jetpack. That’s revision.
My new hero is NPR’s Michael Oreskes. Scott Detrow had a terrific story today about Donald Trump’s appearance at a Black church. The pastor called Trump on the carpet for attacking Hillary Clinton when he had promised not to be partisan. Trump later attacked the pastor and misstated key facts about what actually happened. Why was this story terrific? Scott was one of a handful of reporters in the church…
I begin a class on “Bartleby the Scrivener”: “Maybe I should do what Bartleby does. Maybe instead of teaching this class, I should protest an impersonal environment, and calmly decline to do what society expects of me. But I don’t have the guts to do that. Okay, who’d like to start the discussion?”
Scene: I am driving my teenagers to an audition.
Girl: Peter, did you leave your sideburns?
Boy: I didn’t shave at all.
Me: Good. A beard is appropriate for this play.
Girl: Fiddler on the Roof is a *musical*.