A continuing tale of life in the boonies


No. 171


Vague language harangued

The story so far: It is hoped that the newly hatched Assertive Discipline Plan will be to Farmington Elementary School what Wyatt Earp was to Tombstone, and its complex virtues have been extolled in a letter to the Poor People of Farmington by Principal Gopaleen na Lander. So far, weighty words have fallen on largely uncomprehending ears ... now read on!

SCENE 1 - A PBS television studio.

Bill Moyers: It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome my studio guests tonight who are here to discuss the absolutely fascinating topic of Assertive Discipline Consequence Procedures. First, let me ask you, Gopaleen, the question that's been on everyone's lips for the past few days - what precisely is a side step (slide down) consequence?

Poor People of Farmington: Yuh! And how much is it gonna hike onto the property taxes?

Gopaleen na Lander: A side step (slide down) consequence is the B part of the second of nine administrative consequences on the negative side, and let me sidetrack for a moment here just to say that the entire school staff has established this clear goal of promulgating a happy atmosphere throughout the school. And allow me to assure the Poor People of Farmington that once safety, security and happiness are again circulating through our classrooms and corridors, a better education/tax dollar efficiency ratio will certainly ensue...

George Orwell: I despair for the English language now that even the smallest outcrop of simplicity has been been eroded by the glacier of modern humbug. Take this - "...students who do not abide by the rules will receive negative consequences." This probably means those who break the rules will be punished. Nine syllables can be distilled from 20. Will wrongdoers receive a manually administered chastisement to the aural organ or a slap on the ear, Gopaleen?

Mahatma Ghandi (gently interupting): Victory is impossible until we are able to keep our temper under the gravest provocation.

Poor People of Farmington: I remember my father used to keep an old birch stick out in the barn and whenever we were...

Bill Moyers (quickly cutting in): Yes, well, absolutely fascinating! But let us try to analyze the essence of a side step (slide down) consequence.

Poor People of Farmington (angrily crunching Bud can): I don't like the sound of it one bit. We ought to be pulling that garbage right off the school library shelves.

Gopaleen na Lander: No, no, you misunderstand...

George Orwell (triumphantly): My point, entirely, and let me just add that ... (cont. on page 94)

Cemetery News

The public is cordially invited to sidestep or even slide down on Sunday, Sept. 30, between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., to the vestry of the First Congregational Church where Farmington Cemetery Association is holding an open house in honor of Elfreda Baston Otis, who has served as superintendent of the Pine Grove Cemetery for 50 years.

George Orwell: Your sentence is far too long.

Gopaleen na Lander: But it contains a splendid example of a positive consequence.

River Road news

River Road, the Farmington street, which has been mysteriously eliminated from all official maps and charts, and claims no signpost (An un-street - Orwell) has, through the painstaking work of local archeologist Mr. Ramgunshoch, been found to be more than a yard wider than was previously suspected. The well-known elderly grump was recently brushing off last winter's sand as a charitable act and was astonished and thrilled to discover at least four feet of extra pavement under the Sahara-type desert.

F.B.A. news

Farmington Business Association, still drifting without the rudder of a president, will try to scrape by for yet another year with the same old Christmas lights, the ones that threatened to zap Lorraine Meyer's metal dress almost a decade ago. At a meeting on Sept. 13, the F.B.A. decided to approach the town for funding to renew the seasonal decorations for 1991 - a preliminary estimate of the cost for overhead lights is over $3,000, but a plethora of positive consequences associated with jolly illumination allegedly outweigh this negative financial burden.

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