Gemima: Hey Tarquin, I see you no longer have your fidget spinner*. You used to love spinning that thing, man. What happened?
Tarquin: [Shakes head sadly] Yeah, I know. I used to love my fidget spinner. I used to play with it all the time [looks down]. Mr. Xavier, my English teacher, has actually spent this whole week teaching us how to parse sentences using fidget spinners.
Gemima: Wow, that sound really cool!
Tarquin: No, Gemima, no. It’s not cool.
Gemima: But didn’t you naturally engage with parsing sentences as a result, thereby making greater progress in his lessons?
Tarquin: I mean, that’s what you would think, isn’t it? But that’s not what happened…that’s not what happened at all. Far from becoming increasingly engaged with English and what Mr. Xavier was teaching me, I now just hate fidget spinners, as they are associated in my mind with sentence parsing and grammar.
Gemima: But that’s awful! My God! [Pauses] Is that why you don’t play Pokemon Go any more either?
Tarquin: That’s exactly right, Gemima. Mr. Xavier taught us word classes through Pokemon Go, plot structures through Call of Duty, and language devices through Diary of a Wimpy Kid. There’s literally no popular childhood pursuit or fad the man won’t plunder, and thereby tarnish and ruin, in his effort to make his lessons engaging. I don’t even play Minecraft any more, because it just triggers memories of poetic meter and the difference between an iamb and a trochee. When I go home at the end of the day, I struggle to find anything to do that doesn’t remind me of my English lessons.
Gemima: [Puts hand sympathetically on Tarquin’s shoulder] That’s awful, Tarquin. I really feel for you. [Pauses] So what are you doing after school today then?
Tarquin: Playing chess and listening to Bach.