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THE KINDERGARTEN LESSON
“Do you have anything to say?”
“No,” replied Artie, as the hood was placed over his head.
And sitting there, alone, recalling the conversation he had just had, a memory from kindergarten of all times, came back to him. The assignment had been for the class to draw some representation of a holiday parade they had witnessed live or on the screen. Artie remembered drawing some hodgepodge, in black crayon, of a pirate ship he had seen. The little girl next to him drew the same doghouse and puppy she drew every day. She got the gold star for the table, again.
He went up to the teacher and said, “She draws that every day. That had nothing to do with the parade.”
“It was pretty,” said the teacher. “Yours was not.”
“But it had nothing to do with what you asked us to draw! She draws the same picture every day,” he had replied.
Then and there, the lesson he had forgotten, but was so well inculcated, ignited in his brain. Repetitive mediocrity was well rewarded. And if you weren’t successful, going out on a limb was not. Artie learned one other related thing that day too that did stick with him. Antisocial behavior had better not be traced back.
He discovered and developed the equation for faster than light travel. It was supposed to be a military top secret. Instead he published it in the open sources. This belonged to everybody. But unlike the star he stole in kindergarten, instead of a reprimand, he was going to pay with his life.
“It would be a lesson to the others,” he heard, as the bolts on the rifles locked home. Then his brain screamed in pain, and consciousness faded, to pain, to jagged nothingness.
micheledutcher - I liked this story because it brings out the difficulty brought about by standing out. Bradley Manning of WikiLeaks fame for instance, who posted classified military material - should he be executed for his postings? Executing dissodents can be a way of 'teaching a lesson' to others.
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