I Know It’s a Little Late to be Asking This, But—Could Anyone Tell Me What “Schools” Is?

By Betsy DeVos (and Shawn)

Hi, America, it’s me, Betsy DeVos. I’ve recently been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve as Secretary of Education. I couldn’t be more honored, and I hope I’ll be confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday. But before I tackle my new job, I was wondering—is there anyone out there who could tell me what “schools” is?

I keep hearing this term, and I’m getting the sense that it might be important to whatever it is I’ll be doing. What’s most troubling is, the way people keep saying it at me, it’s almost like they expect me to already know what it means somehow.

For example, at my confirmation hearing, one of the senators kept asking me things like, “Do you believe schools should be taking a proficiency-based or a growth-based approach?” I managed to deflect the question pretty well by saying something like, “Uh huh, yeah, ‘schools.’” But in my head, I was thinking, “What is this guy talking about? Are they really allowed to just make up words like that?” And I was pretty angry for a while.

But then I started to suspect that it was a real word, because I kept hearing it on the news. I’d be watching CNN, and the anchor would be like, “Betsy DeVos burble burble SCHOOLS.” After the sixth or seventh time this happened, it dawned on me that I had a real problem on my hands.

When the kids don’t know something, they’re always using the Internet, so I thought I’d try that. I looked up Google’s address and wrote them a letter, in which I very politely asked, “Please, oh Google, what is schools?” So far, they haven’t responded. Maybe it’s my router? I’m not much of a tech whiz.

If I don’t get to the bottom of this, I’m worried it could affect my job performance. The other day someone was asking how schools should handle sexual education. And I gave what I thought was a pretty measured response, which is that sexual education is something the children should learn from department store mannequins as God intended. The questioner looked at me bug-eyed, and I thought, “Oh no, I didn’t use the word ‘schools’ in my response.” So then I yelled “Schools!!”, but she only stared harder. I’m not sure if I wasn’t loud enough, or if I waited too long, or what.

I guess things aren’t as simple as they used to be. When I was a kid, education had nothing to do with “schools.” My parents gave me a broken abacus and “Jesus Loves Businesses” coloring book, and those things, plus a department store mannequin, taught me everything I needed to know. But I’ve got to be Secretary of Education for the children of the 21st Century, and that’s apparently going to involve this schools in some capacity, however limited. So please, America, fill me in—you seemed happy to explain to Ben Carson what is house, and it’s only fair you do the same for me.

 

A Mother-Daughter Outing to the MVA

By Ann

Yesterday, my mom and I went to the MVA together. Here’s how that went.

After waiting for two hideous hours:

Mom: Hi, we want to transfer the car title from me to my daughter.

MVA Rep: You don’t have the same last name. You need proof of relation if you don’t have the same last name.

Mom: Yes, I’m sorry, we didn’t realize that until we got here. But we were hoping, since her middle name is my last name, and that’s all written out on her driver’s license, and also because the address on the car title is the same as her home address, that might work as proof?

MVA Rep: But you don’t have the same last name.

Mom: That’s correct.

MVA Rep (To me): Why is your name different?

Me: Huh? Because my last name is my Dad’s—

MVA Rep: Are you married?

Me: Yes, but—

MVA Rep: Oh, so your name changed when you got married.

Me: No. This has always been my name.

MVA Rep: Always since you got married?

Me: No. Always.

MVA Rep: So you’re not married?

Me: No, I am married—

MVA Rep: Do you have your marriage license?

Me: Uh, no, why would I need my—

MVA Rep: To confirm your name change.

Me: But I didn’t change my name when I got—

MVA Rep: Hold on, now I’ve got to go look up your marriage license in the computer.

(Walks away for incredibly long amount of time.)

MVA Rep (Finally coming back): Well, we don’t have your marriage license in the computer.

Me: Right. Okay, but I’m sorry, what I’m trying to say is that it wouldn’t matter whether or not you all had my marriage license, because that has nothing to do with my name.

MVA Rep: So you’re not married?

Me: No, I am, but—

MVA Rep: If you’re not married, I have to look up your birth certificate.

(Starts to walk away again.)

Mom: Wait, but on her birth certificate, my last name is different than it is now. Does that matter?

MVA Rep: Your name doesn’t matter. Her name needs to match yours.

Mom: I’m sorry? My name on the birth certificate doesn’t matter, or—

MVA Rep: No. I’m checking her birth certificate. Your name doesn’t matter.

Mom: But my name needs to match hers?

MVA Rep: Correct.

Mom: But my name doesn’t matter?

MVA Rep: Correct. I have to go look up her birth certificate.

(Walks away for incredibly long amount of time. Again.)

MVA Rep (Finally coming back. Again.): We don’t have her birth certificate either. You’ll need to come back.

Mom: Okay, so it doesn’t matter that her middle name is the same as my last name?

MVA Rep: Let me show you something. You see how your last name starts with a “C” and you see how your last name starts with an “F,” they’re not the same last name.

Mom: We understand that we don’t have the same last name.

MVA Rep: So, since she’s not married—

Me: I am married!

MVA Rep (Completely unfazed): You need to bring in her birth certificate. Next!

What a stellar outing. Mom and I can’t wait to do this all over again next week.

Pilling Your Cat: A Beginner’s Guide

By Shawn

What you will need:

cat (alive)
pills for the cat
pill pockets

Steps:

  1. Make sure you have a cat and that it’s alive (see “What you will need”).
  2. Check that your cat has some kind of medical problem—if it doesn’t, you can stop right here.
  3. Get the pills that are supposed to fix whatever is wrong with the cat.
  4. Make sure that the cat doesn’t like the taste of the pills, because that will increase the challenge.
  5. Try to feed pill to cat and fail spectacularly.
  6. Go out and spend a bunch of money on pill pockets.
  7. Make sure that the cat doesn’t like the taste of the pill pockets; this should be easy, because you own a cat, and it wants this to be terrible for you.
  8. Put the pill in the pill pocket and feed it to the cat.
  9. What a surprise, the cat won’t eat it.
  10. Attempt to force feed it to the cat.
  11. What’s that? The cat spit it out? As though it were a complete waste of money? As though your time and effort mean nothing?
  12. Hey, I know. The cat likes treats. What if you mashed up some treats and coated the pill in the treat dust?
  13. Sees right through your ruse. Hates the pill. Hates you.
  14. Maybe force-feeding wasn’t working because the pill keeps sticking to the inside of the cat’s mouth. What about coating it in a little olive oil and giving it another try?
  15. Okay, toooo much olive oil.
  16. No, stop spitting—stop spitting the pill out. You’re getting covered in olive oil. You look like an otter caught in a BP spill.
  17. Look, here’s a treat. Here’s a normal treat. Mmm. Good, right? Maybe the next thing I feed you will be a treat? Maybe give it a try, huh?
  18. No more treats until you take this. Stop meowing. Real treats are for closers.
  19. For the love of Moses, this pill is to fix your stupid bowels! DON’T YOU WANT TO POOP LIKE A NORMAL CAT?!?
  20. Oh come on, don’t run away. Don’t track your oil-stained body through the—no, get off the couch. Oh god, it’s covered in—no, not the blanket, it sheds—you’re tarring and feathering yourself, just—
  21. You’re an oil slick covered in blanket fuzz, and you’ve wedged yourself under the couch.
  22. Mmkay, well, I guess we’ll have to try this again later. How many pills a day are you supposed to take again?
  23. FIVE?
  24. Sell cat. Purchase plant.

Late Night Chats

By Ann

Anxiety: Hey, bud, wanna think about the fuuuuuture?

Me: No. It’s 1:30am.

Anxiety: That’s the perfect time to think about the fuuuuuture, when everyone else is asleep and no one can hear you scream.

Me: Come on, Anxiety, this is a played out trope. We don’t have to do this. Mix things up. You could be on my side this time?

Anxiety: I am on your side, buddy! I just want what’s best for you.

Me: Okay. Great.

Anxiety: And what’s best for you is considering all the ways everything you’ve ever done or not done could come back to destroy you.

Me: I’ve got an idea. Let’s focus on deep breathing: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 6, 5, 4, 3, 2—

Anxiety: I’ve got another idea. Everyone you’ve ever loved is going to die.

Me: Oh, come on!

Anxiety: What? I don’t want them to. I’m just saying, they definitely will. Every single one. That’s the circle of life, you know.

Me: Yeah, okay. Probably not for awhile, though.

Anxiety: Well, you don’t know that. They could die any time.

Me: They probably won’t.

Anxiety: That’s arbitrary optimism. Life is a hideous soup of chaos. You could wake up tomorrow and one of your parents could have died in the night.

Me: I don’t think that’s—

Anxiety: What would you do without your parents? That would be so traumatic.

Me: We don’t have to think about this right now.

Anxiety: You’ll have to think about it sometime. There’s no way your parents will outlive you. Unless…!

Me: Do we have to jump to—?

Anxiety: You could die, too. At any time. You could be walking outside and BAM, TREE BRANCH TO THE HEAD! That could kill you, you know.

Me: I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Anxiety: Remember, hideous chaos soup.

Me: I know it’s not impossible. Just, statistically speaking—

Anxiety: Oh, you want to talk about the most statistically likely ways to die? I know lots about that. Heart disease, cancer… you could get hit by a car! Do you know how dangerous driving is? If you die young, that’s probably how you’ll die.

Me: Well, I really can’t control that, so let’s just hope it’s quick and that’s the end of that, okay?

Anxiety: Okay, you’re right. Let’s focus on things you can control. Since you could die at any time, I hope you’re satisfied with how you’re living each and every day. Would you say that you’re 100% satisfied?

Me: No one is 100% satisfied.

Anxiety: Someone better than you is.

Me: Okay. Settle down.

Anxiety: I can’t settle down. Every second you’re lying here not working on your goals is another second all your dreams could die.

Me: I should sleep now, so I can do better work tomorrow.

Anxiety: Sounds like quitter-talk to me, but if that’s what quitter-you thinks is best…

Me: I do think that’s what’s best. So just shut up, okay? You’re not helping. Shut up.

Anxiety:

Me:

Anxiety: Hey, what time is it?

Me: I don’t care.

Anxiety: Wow, now it’s past 2am. That’s a lot of time you’ve just been lying here.

Me: I’m doing my best.

Anxiety: Lying here doing nothing…

Me: I’m trying to sleep!

Anxiety: Tick tock, motherfucker.

Me: Stop it. STOP IT. Deep breathing: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 6, 5, 4—

Anxiety: Pretty sure you’re supposed to count to 8.

Me: It doesn’t matter what I count to. 1, 2, 3—

Anxiety: Did I mention everyone you love could die?

Me: That’s it. I’m playing goddamn Candy Crush.