Archive for August, 2010

The Six Million Dollar Post

Conversation before turning out the light:

RegularDad: Ya know what I’ve always wondered? How’d they decide on six million dollars? Like: why not the Four Million Dollar Man, or the Ten Million Dollar Man? Why six?

Me: I dunno. I guess it seemed like a lot of money back then.

RegularDad: Yeah, I guess. And you know what else bugs me?

Me: What?

RegularDad: They rebuilt his legs with bionics. And his arm. And his eye. So he could jump from the top of a ten story building and land without breaking his legs, right? But imagine the spinal compression factor. A jump like that would have compressed his non-bionic spine and just paralyzed him right there. It’d be like: ded-ded-ded-ded-ded-ded-ded-ded-CRUNCH!

Me, laughing: Uh-huh.

RegularDad: And imagine this: he picks up a car with his bionic arm… but the connective tissue in his shoulder isn’t bionic, so wouldn’t the arm just rip right off him and be stuck to the car he just tried to lift?

Me: I guess so. You’d think they’d have budgeted for those kind of issues.

RegularDad: Yeah, but they only had six million dollars, and I guess the money they could have spent on that went to providing the sound effect of when he was looking through his bionic eye, so there you have it.  What a waste. Who needs to listen to THAT all day long? So, again, why not seven million dollars?

Me: I wonder what that would amount to in today’s economy, factoring in inflation? It’d be something like the 97 Trillion Dollar Man! And we’d pay to watch it, too.

RegularDad: Yeah, today the Six Million Dollar Man would be some dude with knee problems and an HMO.


This post will only make sense to people over a certain age, I suppose. People who were watching network television in the 1970’s will totally understand this. People who are significantly younger will probably not. It’s only fitting, perhaps, that the Beloit Mindset List has been released for the class of 2014. I’ve always loved these lists. They’re my way at looking at aging while keeping a big smile on my face.

For those who want to know what my post is talking about, and for those who just want to see it again, here ya go:



Do they even realize how they inadvertently promote homeschooling?

My 7-year-old checked a book of poems out of the library last week called, Did You See What I Saw? Poems about School, by Kay Winters. Here’s one of the poems in the book:

If I Were in Charge

Waiting in line,
a long thin line
takes time
every day
from our play.
We start
then we stop
while we
straighten our line
missing more time
on the way.

Why can’t we bunch
as we go to our lunch?
Or walk in a group
for our soup?

There’s a rule
in each school
about standing in line,
a stupid straight line.
I resign!

My daughter brought this book to me last night while I was in the midst of a grumpy moment, brought on by an attempt to sit down and write a few lines of poetry myself. Said attempt was foiled by an almost constant stream of interruptions, all of which began with the words, “Hey, Mom…?”

Twenty minutes of this sort of thing, and the poem I was working on had disappeared from my thoughts, and I was struck with the frustrating realization that if I were to put them in school next month, I’d have about seven hours a day to sit in silence and write whatever I damn well pleased.

Then my daughter brought me this book, and I flipped through it, and so many of the poems served as yet another reminder of why I’m doing what I’m doing. Sure, there were a few little poems about the specialness of teachers. But really only a couple. Most of them highlighted the many irritations, both big and little, about industrial schooling, like the example above.

And speaking of that poem above…. Let’s just examine that title for a moment: If I Were in Charge.

Notice how the writer uses it to give the child a voice. Notice how that voice understands the condescension inherent in the endless lessons in waiting-in-line. Notice how the voice understands that the best course of action is to simply leave. To resign. And think of how many kids out there that want to say that exact same thing. But never get to.

Um… yep. We’ll keep on homschooling, I guess.

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