I am prepared to swallow my pride and accept that a part-time career as a journalist and shallow humor writer does not qualify me as a literary critic. Still it stings when the Macbeth paper I edit for my son's 10th grade English class is returned with a D.
In my defense, it was honors English and I've never read Macbeth, so probably that works out to more like a C+ when you factor that in. Or rather, when in you factor that. (Or is it "whom?" I can never keep those straight.)
My point is, I'd like to see his English teacher try to write a coherent story in 15 minutes with an editor standing over his shoulder screaming "15 minutes ago, lame ass," and the ballots are not even all counted! and the phone is ringing with a call he has to take or he won't be able to finish his other story which is due seven minutes after the first one and the only thing he's had to eat all day is Cheez-Its.
Whatever. I am prepared to cede the point when it comes to Shakespeare.
But the next assignment? A parody of a news story. And I don't like to brag, but I have been writing news parodies for decades, sir. Sometimes even on purpose.
I pass on to my son a bit of the craft, the word play, the deft substitution of the ridiculous for the absurd. His piece, in which House Republicans draft a proposal to repel health care, makes me laugh. It's good, I tell him. But what do I know?
It comes back with the word "repel" repeatedly crossed out. Above the first one, the teacher has written "repeal" in red ink.
Now my son is convinced that his mother could not even pass tenth grade English.
"Honors English," I say. Because how hard could the other class be?