Monday, April 13, 2009

What Kind of Tree Hugger Are You?

I am becoming more and more amused by the proliferation of quizzes on Face Book. I love the "Which Grease Character Are You" quiz that asks questions from a purely male perspective, but assigns only female characters. (I was Rizzo, of course.) There are quizzes that ask you if you love the sunshine and hate rain and then tell you Seattle is your perfect city. There's the "What Kind of Parent Are You" quiz whose questions and answers look something like this:

Your child falls down. You

A. Laugh

B. Rub crushed glass into the skinned knee

C. Light up a smoke

D. Pick him up and put a bandage on the booboo

Guess which answer gets you the "You are a great parent" rating. I think my favorites, though, are the ones that are clearly written by someone who speaks English as a second language, because there is nothing more endearing that Japanese syntax applied to English grammar. It makes me feel like I'm living a David Sedaris essay.

Recently I took a quiz that was supposed to tell you where you fall on the political ideology spectrum. Now, you and I both know where I fall, but I couldn't resist getting that terribly unflattering photo of Nancy Pelosi published on my profile, so I took it. The questions were surprisingly valid and grammatically correct, and there were a lot of them, by Face Book quiz standards. I actually started to sweat it a little when several questions about the death penalty came up. What if I lost my liberal cred right there on Face Book for all the world to see? Because, yes, I believe in the death penalty. Not in all cases or for the full range of crimes to which it may now be applied, but yeah. Child molesters and serial killers cannot be reformed. And I don't care if it's a deterrent to others, or if it can't bring back the victims or change what happened. I believe there is a point of no return. I believe you can forfeit your right to share oxygen with the rest of humanity. I'm okay with the concept of purely punitive action in those cases, and yes, I believe I would be willing and able to push the button myself, so to speak.

I have come to accept this fact about myself--I am forgiving to a fault on my own behalf, but my capacity for grudgeholding-by-proxy is astonishing. I have let go of shocking personal betrayals and wrongs, but if you hurt someone I love, or an innocent stranger, I want nothing less than your utter destruction, and I usually want to be the instrument. This rage on the behalf of others is sometimes hard for me to reconcile. I value my inner peace; I loathe drama of any kind. In my personal life I strive for zen-like acceptance of reality and of people with all their flawed humanity. And yet, all the self-talk I can muster falls short of convincing me to let go of my anger on behalf of others. Maybe I should. But maybe, on the other hand, a little righteous indignation never hurt anyone.

So that's how I know the "Which Norse God Are You" quiz is flawed. Clearly I am not Frigg, as stated, but Vidar.

Oh, as for the political ideology spectrum, I guess my pro-gay marriage and anti-victimless-crime answers redeemed me, because it said if I went any further to the left, I'd be in Stalin's back yard. Phew!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Long Slide into Summer

There are years when spring break makes me feel rejuvenated and recharged enough to finish out the school year, and then there are years when it just makes me ready for summer. This year it did the latter. All I want to do is sit under the massive wisteria-dripping pergola and read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, drinking sweet tea with mint from the courtyard herb garden and tanning my legs while the kids run around in the yard. Isn't it summer yet?

This doesn't bode well for the 100 Othello analysis papers I need to grade, or the classwork for the six weeks that ends Wednesday. Senioritis happens to teachers too.