Tarquin and Gemima discuss fidget spinners.

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.

*Pokemon/Tamagotchi/loom bands


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