Monday, September 16, 2019

Quote of the Day (Christopher Buckley, on Parents’ Dread of Science Projects)

“No phrase strikes more terror into the heart of a parent today than ‘Science Project.’ Notwithstanding, a few weeks into the start of term your spouse will cheerfully announce to you—in child’s presence, so as to preclude any protest on your part—the ‘wonderful’ news that your child has selected you, specifically, to be his ‘partner’ in the aforementioned exercise. (Refrain from stabbing spouse with fork under the table; there will be plenty of time in which to express your rage, betrayal, and other emotions.) You are now expected to devote all your ‘free’ time over the next six weeks to devising a miniature version of the particle accelerator at CERN, in Switzerland, a home video explaining string theory using cooked spaghetti, or erecting a model of the human genome using 3.4 trillion Styrofoam balls (available at Wal-Mart). Unfortunately, the days are past when science projects could without embarrassment consist of store-bought ant farms (minus ants); hastily drawn cardboard charts showing how fast ice melts when immersed in a mixture of five parts gin, one part vermouth; a model of Sputnik using a Ping-Pong ball and two toothpicks; or a malodorous dish of dead tadpoles proving scientifically once and for all that amphibians cannot be left indefinitely on a hot radiator. In extremis, a project can be built around parent’s recent hospitalization for exhaustion.”— American satirist Christopher Buckley, “Homework: A Parent’s Guide,” in Fierce Pajamas: An Anthology of Humor Writing from “The New Yorker,” edited by David Remnick and Henry Finder (2001)

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