Birthdays, and Dinosaurs, and Slavery, Oh My!

Recently, the New York City public school system put out guidelines to providers of test materials to the district. The guidelines included a list of naughty words that should not be included in the materials, so as not to stress out, offend, or cause boo-boos to the children of the city, who are mainly made of glass it would seem. Among the no good, very bad words were “birthday”, “dinosaur”, “Halloween”, and references to junk food, swimming pools, and computers.


This, dear friends, is unarguably a good thing. Take, for example, birthdays. Did you know that some people don’t celebrate birthdays? And since they don’t celebrate them, they would obviously be emotionally distressed to consider that other people do. Tsk, tsk. Likewise, Halloween might evoke paganism, and everyone knows school children are vehemently and actively opposed to such talk, ever since the Great Pagan and Gradeschooler War of nineteen aught seven.

Swimming pools and computers, you would imagine, are banned because some people don’t have one or both of these things, and might therefore forget what two plus two equals when presented with the horrible reality that some people do.

Now yes, I know that computers are actually IN many classrooms. But that;s different. Because,

And it’s not just naughty, religiousy, class-warfarey, and birthday .. er .. ey words that are verboten get the frowny face. It’s scary words too, like “slavery”, “terrorism”, “space aliens” and Lady Gaga (but I repeat myself). All in the interest of protecting virgin minds from seeing words on tests they see every day in life and, indeed, the normal course of their classrooms.


Some say this list goes too far. Well I say it doesn’t go too far enough. Consequently (consequences are scary) Therefore, I propose the addition of a few more words to the list that shall not be named. But let’s name it anyway. Presenting: The Protecting Our Children From Seeing Things Written Down Or Printed That Might Remind Them Of Stuff That They Don’t Do, Don’t Have, Don’t Like, or Wouldn’t Want To Be Chased By While In A Jeep With Jeff Goldblum List, Part Deux (some people aren’t French) … Part Two.

1. ADDITION: This word should never be on a test. Rich people sometimes build “additions” to their houses, which is very traumatic information for children who live in normal houses, apartments, town-homes, or hot air balloons. I mean seriously, why do you hate poor people?

2. DIVISION: Why divide when you can bring together? Can’t we all just get along?

3. CHAIR: What if a child lost a loved one to the electric chair? Or what if a child has an irrational fear of chairs? What? IT HAPPENS. I’m working with a therapist though, and the other day I very nearly confronted a stool (baby steps).

4. PEN or PENCIL: What do you think of when you think of a pen? Wait, I just realized I can’t hear you. What do I think of when I think of a pen? I think of a pen. Which reminds me of a stylus. Which reminds me I don’t have a Tablet device. Which reminds me that I’m nearly 40 and taking tests with schoolchildren. SO STOP REMINDING ME OF THAT!


5. PEOPLE’S NAMES: Some people aren’t named those names, and, well, that’s just chaos man.

6. GRAND FUNK RAILROAD: “The seventies are over, old man. Take your mood ring and go home!” [Legal argument courtesy Dana Gould.]

7. LAPTOP: Might make people think of strippers, and that’s just not right. They’re kids for pete’s sake. What is wrong with you people??

8. FUNERAL: Don’t you know some people don’t celebrate funerals? DID YOU LEARN NOTHING FROM THE “BIRTHDAY” INCIDENT??

9. WHALE: “Your momma’s so fat …” I rest my case.

10. TEST: This should be obvious. The whole reason we’re doing this is because tests are stressful, and the idea is not to add extra stress to the already stressful test. So talking about the already stressful test during the already stressful test would be like … stress-ception! Not good!

So there you have it. In “Protecting Our Children From Seeing Things Written Down Or Printed That Might Remind Them Of Stuff That They Don’t Do, Don’t Have, Don’t Like, or Wouldn’t Want To Be Chased By While In A Jeep With Jeff Goldblum List, Part III (there are a few children in New York who aren’t from ancient Rome) .. Part Three, we’ll look at broad concepts that should be stricken from tests, such as video games, anthropomorphized animals, thanking Dr. Pepper, and people who say things like “hey bro, wanna hackey?” (Who should also be stricken from all other public life, incidentally.)



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