Thursday, November 17, 2011

Edwina and the dreaded homework

I had been staring at my computer screen for the last fifteen minutes wondering what to write when the answer came to me: I'll get my mummy to help me out - thanks mum!

When I was a little girl my mother would often tell me stories about another little girl named Edwina. Edwina was just like me. She had blond hair, she liked hot buttered toast, and she lived with her family in a nice neighbourhood that was just like our neighbourhood. The following is a story my mother wrote about an older and wiser Edwina when I was in my final year of undergraduate uni, finishing up my thesis, and looking forward to the real world (I was so foolish then).

Once upon a time there was a girl named Edwina who lived with her mother
and father, and her little brother and sister, and her beloved dog named
Whim.

Edwina liked to do a lot of different things. She liked to play soccer,
she liked to read, she liked to play tag with her dog, she liked to hang
out with her friends, she liked to watch TV. What she did not like to
do was her homework.

Edwina hated doing homework. She would rather do anything than her
homework. She would even prefer cleaning up the dog poop in the
backyard. Every day after school, her mother would come home to find
her watching reruns of sitcoms like "Full House", or nature shows like
"Lorne Greene's New Wilderness". Edwina preferred watching wildebeest
die violently to doing worksheets. She would rather look at obnoxious
little girls with side ponytails than at math equations.

"What is it about homework that you hate so much?" her mother asked
plaintively.
"It's the "work" part of it, Mom," Edwina answered loftily, "That's the
worst. Those tachers think I have nothing better to do with my time.
They've got some nerve!"

In desperation, Edwina's parents tried everything they could think of to
get her to do her homework. They bribed her with treats; they took away
privileges. They pleaded, cajoled and threatened. But every day the
struggle began anew. With the passage of time, as projects became more
complicated and deadlines loomed ever larger, the struggle over homework
took on epic proportions. But eventually, Edwina learned a valuable
lesson. She learned what was the absolute minimum amount of homework
required to both keep her grades at a respectable level, and prevent her
parents from a complete breakdown.

And so she skimmed along through school until one day when she decided
that it wasn't just the "work" part of of homework that she despised.
She wasn't keen on the "home" aspect of it, either. So Edwina packed up
her bags and moved to a school far, far away. Still she could not
escape the dreaded homework.

At her new school, the teachers were even more harsh, and the homework
assignments more time-consuming and cruelly complex. Edwina sometimes
had to work 10% harder than she had ever worked in her life! But she
reached deep into the core of her being, and with a tremendous effort,
she managed to complete almost every asssignment, most of them on time.

Soon, it was the very last week of school ever. The very last, biggest,
worst assignment was due. Would Edwina be able to summon enough courage
and energy to finish that assignment and be free forever from the
scourge of homework? Or would she succumb to fatigue and ennui, and
like the hapless wildebeest, be CRUSHED in the jaws of HOMEWORK? ...
... ... ...

I haven't written the ending yet, but I think Edwina found the strength
of ten Edwinas plus two, and just finished the damn thing so she could
fly off to Europe with a song in her heart.

And fly off I did!

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