How Do You Think She Gets Straight A’s
A Short Story by Jeremy Benjamin
Written using the suggestion "Holograph"
Originally featured on 12-22-2009
As part of our series "The Future Was Now"

Yes Mister Davis, I understand the nature of my transgression. As you indicated in your rednotes, my paper, although grammatically impeccable, was neither cogent nor germane to the topic, but rather leapt from one digression to another like the rant of a lunatic in the throes of a fervent drug trip. As demonstrated by my prior academic performance, you understand that this paper was a fluke, and should raise no question about my mental aptitude or stability.

I mention only as a conversational aside that my sister Haley has been pressuring me to try marijuana — she says it relaxes her to take a few tokes before an exam. As her sister, I don’t know what to say to that. I should also mention that Coach Riley has offered me the opportunity to play varsity if I maintain a B+ average or better in all my classes. Whaddo ya know, this letter is starting to sound like my paper, jumping topics in a flight of candid tonguewheeling. Surely you can see the humor in my offhand connections. Your rednotes, sadly, were humorless.

In response to your request that I redo the assignment, start over from scratch and turn it in for a reduced letter grade, I deflect your request with a request of my own: I request that you, Mister Davis, take a closer look at my paper. If I were to redo it, I would turn in a paper identical to this one, without changing a word. If you look at it and read more than what’s on the surface, you will see a certain beauty and exacting meticulousness to it that will make it evident why it took me six hours to compose, refining every word, punctuation and formatting detail to perfection. I say that not to be ironic or facetious or daring or presupposing or presumptuously perplexing, or verbose, I say that because it is a fact. Again, I hope that you are reading this with a cigar in hand and a smirk on your face. My humor begs to be acknowledged.

Was I clear on the assignment prompt for this paper? If you read my first four sentences, there can be no mistaking that I began this composition with full awareness. Assignment prompt for Paper #3: drawing on two examples from the text and one anecdote from your personal experiences, compare and contrast customs of civilizations of ancient Greece to contemporary society and conclude by citing three to five specific insights the analysis offers on the human condition. Six to eight pages double-spaced (or equivalent volume of content).

With all due respect, Mister Davis, I think that you are a jaded idiot. Without sabotaging any more credibility or charm with my feeble attempts to insult you — as I know that you are unaffected by the opinions of those under the age of thirty-five, and invective thereof only serves to elicit a condescending half-smile on your face, at best a nasal chuckle and at worst a tickle in your loins — I’ll chalk this miscommunication up to our generation gap. And a pitiful miscommunication it is. But, as a father of two adolescent boys, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt; perchance, Mister Davis, do you fancy optical illusions? There is of late a noteworthy innovation sweeping the shelves of novelty bookshops — surely its commercial presence has not escaped you. State-of-the-art computer programs generate images that look like redundant patterns at a first glance, but if you flex your eyes in a counterintuitive manner and focus on the space behind it, three-dimensional images pop out at you.

As it turns out (as you will see when you take a second gander at my paper) this phenomenon does not require fancy computer programs. All it takes is a bored teenaged mind, a little bit of hypocrisy to spur inspiration, and it can be accomplished with English text, Times New Roman font. Read my paper between the lines, as you would say, and I think you will be pleasantly (no, not pleasantly, more…I don’t know, how should I say…harrowingly, perhaps?) surprised. And just between me and you, I strongly advise that you read it in a place of privacy such that your sons and your wife — especially your wife — are not within a radius of potential interruption.

Read More By Jeremy Benjamin

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