Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The "This Day in History" Poetry Challenge.

Remember Schoolhouse Rock? Sure you do. 

I'm just a bill,
Yes, I'm only a bill,
And I'm sitting here on Capital Hill…

Conjunction Junction, what's your function…?

And so many more. But this stuff hasn't been on Saturday morning TV since the Seventies, and let's face it, we're so much smarter than our children because of such civic-minded programming. 

Oh, yeah, and due to our ability to discern subtle social cues stymied by overuse of hand-held electronic devices. 

These days, your average eleven-year-old probably doesn't know that interjections show excitement or emotion. How many current fourth graders can rattle off "three six nine…twelve fifteen eighteen…twenty-one twenty-four twenty-seven…thirty"?

Bam, this one can.

Today's youth have no idea how magic a number three is or how a bill becomes a law, nor do they care. I've decided to propose a radical exercise for our overstimulated, standardized-test-driven youth— a way to transform them into sturdy, studly students of social studies. It's the "This Day in History" poetry challenge. 

Simply watch in wonder as your cherub drives his or her pick into that golden internet vein and pries out a wheelbarrow-full of raw historical nuggets. At that point, it's merely a matter of smelting everything into verse. Ouch, that's hot!

On March the Fourth Seventeen-Ninety-One,
Vermont at last became a state.
I've been told it was cold,
All the men were quite old,
And they smelled of intestinal freight.

On March the Fourth  Nineteen-Hundred-and-Eight,
New York students finally stopped getting cuffed.
Instead of a slap,
The belt or the strap,
The kids wore a Donald Trump tuft.

On March the Fourth Nineteen-and-Fifty-Two,
Ronnie Reagan and Nancy were hitched.
Did she just say "no"?
Oh, no, not that night, bro,
Okay, gross, the subject needs to be switched.

On March the Fourth Nineteen-and-Thirty-Three,
FDR first came onto the scene.
We had nothing to fear but fear itself,
Still not really sure what that means.

On March the Fourth Nineteen-and-Seventy-Four,
People Magazine first peeled its wrapper.
My mom read it first,
And usually at worst,
It ended up on the floor by the crapper.

On March the Fourth Nineteen-and-Ninety-Nine,
Lewinsky's book dished on old Bill.
She wore the same dress,
To talk to the press,
Best dry cleaner on Capital Hill.

See what I mean? It's easy, fun and your child will be a little less—well, stupid—than yesterday.

Maybe.

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