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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tales from the AT Room

When I was in elementary school, I qualified for a program called "Academically Talented" (the old 80s equivalent to the current Gifted and Talented program, wherein they pretend that if your child plays the saxophone well they could hypothetically be included in this program, but which in reality still functions in the exact same way as the old Academically Talented program did: you have to take a test to see how "smart" you are to get in). Back in those days, those of us who were "smart" enough to be in the pull-out program called it "AT", because even then we were hipsters with our own special language.

My brothers called it Animal Training (which AT could also stand for, get it?). I don't want to say they were motivated by jealousy, but . . .

The most awesome thing about this is that I almost got kicked out of AT in the fifth grade, because I couldn't remember to do the big projects we were supposed to do (this refrain would follow me throughout all my schooling years), and apparently when they named the class Academically Talented? What they really meant was Academically Responsible. After a rather serious meeting with my mother, Mrs. Bealls decided I could stay. But only if I made up that special project on ancient Egyptian makeup that I had failed to complete satisfactorily. Because, dammit, how was I supposed to become a well-informed, responsible, intelligent human being if I didn't know the ingredients used in ancient Egyptian cosmetics? It's still a quandary I wrestle with, let me tell you.

Anyway. My point is this: in sixth grade, one of our super-awesome, this-will-keep-you-engaged-in-schoolwork-so-you-don't-become-bored-and-act-out-project was to create a comic book that showed a new superhero dealing with a current social problem in a fresh and innovative way.

My superhero?

Prostitution Pam. She took on illegal prostitution while wearing a teal green miniskirt and fishnet stockings. Her teased and ratted hair and heavy rouge was just her way of letting the girls know she "got them"--she herself had gotten out of that racket years ago and had now dedicated her life to changing the shadowy world of prostitution. Her novel solution to this pressing social problem? Well, she passed out condoms like they were candy, as well as informing the girls of the counties in Nevada to which they should move. You know, counties where prostitution was legal.

And despite the fact that like most of my other AT projects, this one was completed almost entirely on the school bus on the morning it was due, I think it turned out very well. I think the teacher might have had another opinion, however. I got a 'C'. Maybe for chlamydia?

7 comments:

Jen said...

AT: Awesome. Totally. Describes this post.

D said...

hahaha you would have loved having you for a student!

julie said...

What! Prostitute Pam!!! How scandalous, Heidi! How I wish I could have been on the bus with you when you were finishing your project - that would have been a good day for bus riding.

Just a Girl in a Guys World said...

I'm so glad you never gave us any of those, "This-will-keep-you-engaged-in-school-work-so-you-don't-act-out-projects"

Heidi said...

Hmmm. Do I sense a little sarcasm above? Maybe?

ambsace said...

i don't know that any project/paper i ever handed in to you was of this caliber. hats off, heidi hadley.

Josh said...

Haha. That's pretty much awesome.