“Ok class, Ms. Johnson is sick so I will be your substitute today. My name is Mr. Caan, and I’ve been a substitute in this district since returning from the war, so don’t try any funny business and we’ll get along just fine. Now, I see from Ms. Johnson’s note here that today is the first day of your individual presentations of a current news story. Let’s see… students are to present a news event of their own choosing to the class starting with the headline and highlighting the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the story. Well, that sounds pretty straight forward to me, let’s get started,” Mr. Caan scratched at the stubble under his chin absently and threw a grizzled stare at the class of 22 eighth graders.
“We’ll start with you, girly in the purple sweater hoodie thing. Come up here to the front of the class, be sure to tell me your name so I can mark it and then Ms. Johnson has allotted you each five minutes to present your article. Well come on, girly. I’m not getting any younger,” Mr. Caan leaned back in Ms. Johnson’s worn chair and waited for the skinny girl in the front row to come to the front of the classroom and begin her presentation (and so he could begin his nap).
“Uh… hi, I’m Jodie Picante,” Mr. Caan scribbled something on a legal pad and motioned for Jodie to continue. “…and my news article headline is Japanese island man lives as naked hermit,” Jodie bit her lip and tried not to laugh as she saw Mr. Caan almost fall out of his chair as she read the last bit of her headline.
“Young lady, this is not funny! Now read your real headline and let’s get on with it,” Mr. Caan huffed as he climbed back into the chair.
“But Mr. Caan, that is my real headline, see?” Jodie held up a printout from a Yahoo! News story, complete with a picture of what appeared to be a very naked 76-year-old Japanese man.
“What the…” Mr. Caan mumbled as he adjusted his glasses and peered at the page she held up. “Humph…” was all he managed to get out as he waved for Jodie to continue. The girl went through the rest of the story and took her seat once she was done. “Next up, you there, with that ridiculous haircut… your turn,” Mr. Caan was wondering why he kept coming out of retirement for this garbage.
A tall gangly kid with bangs sweeping over approximately 2/3 of his face came to the front and began, “Hi, ya’ll know me as Freddy Deacon and my article is titled, Georgia Kindergartner handcuffed by police after throwing tantrum,” Freddy began with no indication this was anything but a serious news report.
“Hold on just a second there, sonny. There is no way that can be an actual headline from a legitimate news agency. Is this some kind of hoax, a prank you kids play on substitutes? Well, I’ll tell you I won’t have it, I won’t!” Mr. Caan was out of his seat and pacing next to the desk.
“Mr. Caan, this is a real headline, I swear!” Freddy said as he approached the agitated substitute and showed him the article from the Associated Press. Taking a closer look, Mr. Caan saw that is was in fact what Freddy claimed and allowed the Bieber-wannabe to continue.
“Ok, thank you… that was very enlightening Mr. Deacon. Next, let’s have you there in the back. Yes, you… come on, wake up and come to the front if you think you can manage,” Mr. Caan was going to need the five o’clock drink much earlier today at this rate.
“Yeah, so my article is-“ the sleepy kid from the back began.
“Excuse me son, please state your name for the role before you go on,” Mr. Caan interrupted.
“Oh yeah, sorry… whatever. My name is Jonah Hill and my article’s headline is, Newt nipped by zoo penguin, gets Band-Aid,” Johan was about to continued when Mr. Caan once again interrupted him.
Mr. Caan was pacing once again and working up quite the sweat, “What is going on, here? Has the world turned on its end! I’m not going to even ask if that’s an actual headline, since from what I’ve heard today just about anything passes as news these days! Is this really the state of things? Has this great nation really fallen so low? I mean next you’re going to tell me that Kim Kardashian idiot is running for mayor!”
“Hey! No fair! That was my article!” a blonde girl with braces yelled from the second row before slouching down in her desk with a dramatic pout.
Wide-eyed and perhaps on the verge of a complete collapse, Mr. Caan simply stared at the back wall for a few minutes before slowly lowering his head. “I’d like everyone to please place their heads on their desk and not speak until the end of the period,” the tone of his voice left no room for debate and the kids all slowly lowered their heads without protest.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: So many ridiculous news stories… so little time. Today was simply chalked full of some of the weirdest ‘news’ stories I remember coming across in a very long time and I just had to catalog a few of them. All of the headlines above are pulled right out of today’s news, mostly from Yahoo! News (which explains a lot). One more reason to NOT stay current… with current events.
Love & Squirrels.