"One who uses coercion is guilty of deliberate violence. Coercion is inhuman." - Gandhi

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How I Failed Myself... and All of You

I Failed Myself… and All of You

by “Argon” John

“Get busy, John,” said the teacher. John glared at his test booklet and refused to move. A look of annoyance was beginning to form on the teacher’s face. “John!” she said. “Do your test!”

“I don’t want to,” he said. She grimaced. “Well,” she said. “Would you like to not want to in the principal’s office?” John chuckled inwardly. That woman had used that threat countless times. You know, John thought inwardly. That might not be a bad idea. These tests don’t count for anything, and they say right here: completely optional. I’d love to get sent to the office and… yeah… that would piss off some parents…

“Ma’am, these tests say plainly right here: ‘This test is completely optional’.” The teacher sighed. “John, if you don’t start doing your test in ten seconds, you’re going to the office.” John grinned, folded his arms, and closed his test booklet. 10, 9, 8… This is going to be great… 7, 6, 5… Here we go… 4, 3, 2… This is just sad… 1, 0. Okay, you asked for it. The teacher rose and picked John up by his arm and escorted him to the principal’s office. She sat him down on a bench, and, after a brief conversation with the secretary, left.

Then, the principal came out and gestured for John to come into his office. A tall, muscular, scary man, the principal could strike fear into the hearts of the most badass children, and sent them back to class without even a punishment. But John was not intimidated by him. He had studied laws intensely, and knew that if he so much as raised his voice unnecessarily high, he could bring his parents down on him like a tidal wave.

Unfortunately, the principal knew this, so he was extra careful around him: “So, John. Why are you here again?” he asked. John had prepared the speech in his mind earlier, and was prepared with a coherent and accurate response: “I refused to take a test. The test was entirely optional: this statement came from a higher authority than my teacher. She has no right to force me to take it.”

The principal wrote his words down on a yellow legal pad. John chuckled inwardly: the notepad: the classic fear mechanism.

“Well,” the principal said. “You have refused an order from a teacher.” John smiled. “Yes, sir: an order that she had no right to give. And, with respect, sir, you don’t have either.” The principal was really getting irritated, now: John could see it behind his eyes. It was taking a large amount of willpower to keep form raising his voice, John bet.

“Well, what do you say we ask your parents what they think?” he asked. John had seen this tactic used on many people, and knew how to cripple his assault force. “That sounds like an excellent idea: may I call them, please?” he asked.

The principal was stunned. Had he heard that kid right? But he couldn’t show his surprise: he handed the phone to John. John dialed his father’s number. His father was an attorney and respected laws like this: John knew that his father would help him out.

“Hello? Yes, father. I’m having a dispute with some staff here at school on a test. Would you please come and help me settle this? Apparently since I’m a child I have no right to protest. Yes, right now. Thank you.”

The principal formed a smile of contempt on his lips. John did the same. They waited for John’s father.

John’s father walked in, holding a notebook. He sat down beside John. “Now, what’s the problem, here?” he asked. The principal spoke: “Your son here refuses to take a test. He was insubordinate to his teacher when she ordered him to take it.” His father glared at John. “However,” John said. “I did not want to take the test: on the cover, it said ‘This test is completely optional’. I didn’t have to take it: neither the teacher nor the principal has the right to force me to take it.”

I can’t remember what happened after that. All I remember is that in the end, I lost. I was forced to take a stupid, pointless test when I could have been doing something else. I didn’t have to take it: it said so on the cover. They did not have the right to make me. Now, I regret succumbing to them. I should have taken the test, ripped in half, and thrown the pieces on the floor. I let them crush me under their massive, fat feet. I failed: I let the school system use power they shouldn’t have. That they don’t have. And, most importantly, I failed myself. I have let these officious people control me and punish me for exercising my rights. I feel terrible about myself.

I urge you to not let the same thing happen to you. Stand up for yourself. Show these bastards that they are not supreme: you have rights, too. You have a say. You are a person. You do not have to collapse under the pressure these fat people place on you when they step on you like a cockroach. These people have too much power: don’t give them any more. Do not do like I did: do not fail yourself.

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Posted in: Commentary by Argon on April 23, 2011 @ 6:11 PM

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