Dear Mr. and Mrs. Birnbaum,

This letter is to inform you that your daughter, Cassiopeia, is a menace to the mental well-being of my classroom. A menace!

Okay, perhaps menace is a bit harsh. But she is definitely disruptive. In all my one and a half prior years of teaching, I have never, ever, ever, never ever ever come across a student so willful, so brazenly dishonest, so cotton-picking imaginative as she. And I do not cotton to imagination! No cotton-picking cottoning of imagination, me! Let me explain my indignation so you understand it fully, and can punish your offspring in the appropriately strict manner.

Cassiopeia insists that she is a baboon. Okay, she may look a little bit like a smelly, disgusting ape, but her fur is harsh and yellow, like straw. She further went on to explain that her father was a scarecrow. As if this proved anything! She’s a menace, I tell you! A menace!

What’s more, she has a vivid imagination when it comes to storytelling. I asked the students to write a short story for class. Something pleasant and simple, about a little squirrel, perhaps, gathering nuts for the winter. All the other students took my advice and wrote stories about squirrels gathering nuts for winter. Simple, pleasant and very, very easy to grade. But Cassiopeia. Oh, Cassiopeia. She wrote the following story, which I have included in its entirety below. Please note the rampant making stuff upism, odd goings on and sense of fun. Fun! In homework! The idea chills me to the tibias!


Once there was a robot named Scott Bot 957. He was just your average gray robot with metal arms and a head shaped like a bucket. His feet were jet packs. But he had no friends. This is because all of the other robots liked to eat pizza and have pizza parties where they all talked about what kind of pizza they liked to eat. Scott Bot 957 did not like pizza at all. He hated the smell of it, he hated the gooiness of it, and most of all, he hated hated hated the taste of it.

Yes, robots have taste buds. This is so that they can taste foods for poisons so that their human friends don’t eat the poison accidentally and die on purpose. In exchange for this, the humans make pizzas for the robots. Because all robots love pizza. All robots except Scott Bot 957.

One day, after years and years of testing food for poison, Scott Bot 957 worked up the courage to tell his human friend Simone Bananapeel his terrible, terrible secret. “Simone Bananapeel,” he said. “I regret to inform you that Scott Bot 957 does not like pizza.” All robots refer to themselves in the third person.

Simone Bananapeel gasped, for she was surprised! “You don’t like pizza? But I thought all robots liked pizza. My whole world view is crumbling like a graham cracker crust!” she exclaimed. “Were you programmed by a crazy moronic type of person?”

“Scott Bot 957 does not believe so. Scott Bot 957 just does not like the taste of pizza. Scott Bot 957 prefers the taste of tacos,” Scott Bot 957 said. And it was true. One time, when tasting a tasty taco for the possibility of poison, Scott Bot 957 realized that he loved the taste of tacos. Hard shell or soft shell, chicken or beef, but especially pork. Lettuce and tomato and cheese and salsa and that green oozy stuff that his computer brain told him was called guacamole.

“Why, Scott Bot 957,” Simone Bananapeel said, “you should have told me before. From now on, I will make you tacos instead of pizza as a reward for tasting my food for poison.” And she did. And Scott Bot 957 introduced tacos to his friends, who, even though they didn’t like them as much as pizza, liked tacos.


Okay, there is just so much wrong with this story that I can hardly begin to teacherify it and provide a grade to adequately portray my disgust. Robots speak in the third person? What nonsense! Poison in food? Well, I never! Tacos better than pizza? Blasphemy!

As you can see, I am about at my wit’s end here. Your child clearly has issues with reality and with squirrels gathering nuts for the winter. I implore you to discuss these problems with her and instill a sense of normality in this unusual child. Pretty, pretty please with cherries.

Mrs. Pootypants
Teacher of the grade Cassiopeia Birnbaum is in.


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