The following is Caedmon Fowler’s “Beowulf Boast” assignment. The students were to write an exaggerated personal boast after the style of Beowulf. Oh, and if you click on the links, some of them are rewarding. My favorite is “Rabbit Speaker”.
Title of Awesomeness
I, the conqueror of the Hallowed Fountain,
the trainer of the wild Thragtusk,
and Ruler of the Void,
set out to complete my mission to save the world’s greatest heroes from the infamous Bad Horse.
I, the kin of Jef Fearsome and grandson of Grandpa Fearsomer hath come upon this place to free
the imprisoned heroes.
My father who hath wrestled single-handedly twenty-four and a half bears for thirty six hours
hath given me his helm of thinkingness which will help me outsmart Bad Horse.
Though Bad Horse may have done many evil deeds, I have done greater righteous acts.
I bravely explored its depths. for ten days before I hit the bottom.
There lay the gateway to another dimension which was called Atlantis.
In return, I received my flaming sword of the Boss for opening up a worm hole that trapped all the reavers.
Even though Bad Horse is the most evil of the evil villains, his destruction is a task that I must do.
If I don’t fulfill my mission, then the greatest heroes will remain in his prison forever.
and of course, King Kong will remain there if I don’t
Back before I was “Mr. Donaldson, English Teacher,” I was but a young Fievel–a wide-eyed recent immigrant trying to make his way in America. I wrote many introduction letters to various jobs, but to no avail.
I found one application looking for a personal assistant to the president of a tech company. I’ve never done this kind of job before and I had no chance of ever landing it, but I decided to write them a different kind of letter of introduction.
And I decided this because of the last line of the job application that read “prior experience herding cats a plus.”
Herding cats? I know of such things. I took up the challenge. This is my letter I submitted to [redacted] office of the President:
In my experience, there are two schools of thought regarding the successful herding of cats. The first school can generally be described as a be-everywhere-at-all-times model requiring an almost super-human herder or a united front of like-minded herders. The limitations of this approach are obvious, and the literature surrounding this school of thought has recently devolved into discussions on high-tech surveillance, feline-centric “positive behaviour management” solutions or other more invasive herding techniques (ankle monitors) aimed at keeping the cats in line.
However, with cats being an equal mix of disdain-for-humans, independence, disregard for imposed systems, and evil, the herder ascribing to this antiquated school of thought will find him or herself blowing against the wind. Based on the old principle of “moderate power through strength, supreme power through levity” a new school of thought has emerged in recent years. The basics of this school are simple: have the cats think that the system they are ascribing to is one of their own making, or, ideally, that they do not know they are being herded at all. With overall kitty-order held up as the ultimate goal at all times, the successful herder must employ carefully honed social techniques in order to gather information, set timetables and give each cat the sense that all is right with the world. A cat that knows everything is in order, is a predictable and herdable cat. Predicting cat needs and having them filled before the cat realizes that they need it, is a surefire way to keep Mittens docile and on task, as opposed to up a tree shrieking or leaving a dead critter in your sock drawer.
A successful herder must know that his or her place is in the background of the day-to-day. One good self-evaluation test a herder could run is the “cologne” or “makeup” test. Just like with cologne or makeup, if the herder is obvious, highly visible or altogether making their presence known, you’re most likely doing it wrong.
Lastly, the successful herder is wise to remember that for cats, it is a cat world and everyone else is visiting. Being able to make peace with this concept and realize that you are not the proud cowboy atop a horse, but are more akin to the hockey penalty killer or that guy who has to bunt to advance the runner is paramount for the herder. Cat herding is not for the egotistical, but for the service oriented and organizational freaks which is why it is the traditional employment for cheerful people-people, library lovers and Canadians. If nothing else, the herder can take satisfaction in being that last small piece that makes the machine run smoothly. At least I know I do.
Should you wish to discuss my qualifications (if any) for this position further, do not hesitate in contacting me.
I didn’t hear back.
Today, before class, I was wearing my green and gold Muller scarf…
DERYL (A senior): Did you knit that scarf?
ME: I didn’t, but somebody else did. It was a gift from Mrs. Falk. And I think it’s crocheted, actually.
DERYL: *GASP* HAVE YOU HEARD OF FINGER KNITTING!?
DERYLE: Well, apparently, it’s, like, THE biggest thing in fourth grade. Everyone is doing it.
We were discussing the conflict between the Warrior Code and the Christian Code in class, and I asked which code (Warrior or Christian) they were most attracted to…
FAITH: I don’t know, I’m imaging each as a person and each has their… uh…
MR. H: Are you thinking that the Warrior Code guy is cuter? Is that what you’re thinking?
FAITH: Well, that’s what I was thinking at first, but then I was like, naaaaaaaaaaah Tim Tebow’s pretty alright.
Me: Did you guys hear that thunder? It was the essay Halle is writing.
Skansi: There was thunder?
Megan: I thought it was something funky in the air conditioner.
Sadie: I thought it was Ty’s stomach.
Knives: He has a stomach of the gods.
Josh: Are you calling him fat?