Ode to an Academe


by Gordon Klopfenstein

It came to me the other day
While I was at my dinner
That I was in the presence of
A real pedant, a winner.

An Academe is what he was
But to keep my meaning purer
He shall henceforth in this narrative
Be known as Der Fuehrer.

How had his mien eluded me
For I had seen him often.
I’ll wonder at my obtuseness
Till I am in my coffin.

But usually one doesn’t meet
A wonder of creation,
An apex of the sapien kind,
A divine adulation.

In that, then, I can find excuse
For that I could not see
That throughout all creation
The highest form was he.

But still I’m battered by remorse
And will be to my coffin.
I should have known how great he was.
He’d told me so so often.

And since he knows all truths of life
He saw it as his role
To take each child he came across
And pulverize his soul.

So he looked across the madding crowd
And from it he did choose
Some folks to help him as he worked
Those children to abuse.

He selected some with faces blank
And then he held a meeting
To talk about the million rules
And laws they would be needing.

They made rules against ’bout everything
A child usually does.
In knowing what a kid should be
They weren’t wrong—God was.

God must have been too busy
Making stuff like day and night.
Whatever was the reason
Kids didn’t turn out right.

Kids were happy little creatures
Who would trust you and enjoy ya.
They had to take away those traits
And teach ’em paranoia.

Kids were happy to be human
But whether Sam or Sue or Milt,
They were nasty little sinners
Who had to learn some guilt.

Each thought that he was special,
The image of God’s face
So they had to break their spirits
And keep them in their place.

Kids were curious and active.
Now that just can’t be right.
Teach ’em not to be so nosy
And keep ’em out of sight.

All of these mistakes of God’s
Just had to be corrected
So they made up all their rules and laws
So kids could be perfected.

And when they’d covered everything:
Don’t smile unless it’s planned,
And breathe and grow and defecate
And wee-wee on command.

And you can’t learn if you wear shorts
And don’t question what I say.
Do everything you’re told to do
And do it, by god, my way.

They made these rules and thousands more.
They were pleased with what they’d done.
They thought of how the kids would feel
And they said, “My god, it’s fun!”

Der Fuehrer was so very pleased
He stood and told them so.
“We’ve done away with childhood
And told parents where to go.

We know what’s best for all the world
And no matter who exhorts us,
We’ll tell them what to do and how
Till their minds have rigor mortis.

And if one should speak or step from line
We’ll dutifully beat ’em.
We’ll pledge allegiance to the flag
While we abridge their freedom.

We’ll educate their characters.
We’ll teach ’em that it’s good
To do and think just what they’re told
Throughout their childhood.

And if a kid’s a robot
And his parents think like we
He’s naturally a good one
As all can plainly see.

But kids who don’t agree with us
Or who make some adult mad
We’ll castigate and ridicule
And teach ’em that they’re bad.

And bad will be what we call bad.
We’ll decide that at our whim.
If that kid’s parents question us
We’ll take it out on him.

Adults who don’t agree with us
Are infidels and commies.
They hate the flag and apple pie
And, of course, they hate their mommies.

Since we’re so good, so very good
What we do is always right.
If they don’t understand that now
They’ll never see the light.

And if some brother in our field
Should criticize our whim?
Well, just keep doing as you do
And blame it all on him.

If he should happen to discuss
Our techniques medieval
Just say with shock, ‘What horrid thoughts!
My god, you must be evil.’

And to another pedagogue
Don’t ever be concessional.
Just plant your feet, turn off your brain
And declare yourself professional.

But don’t worry ’bout those who disagree
They’re hardly worth your while.
If they only knew as much as we
They’d all adopt our style.”

… of Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Colossians 2:3

“God, you see, has changed the rules.
Now wisdom hides in us.
His Son proved far too liberal
When he made that awful fuss

By questioning authority
And going out to dinners
With thieves and whores and lunatics
And such assorted sinners.

No, we don’t do that sort of thing.
Authority we never doubt.
And those people Jesus ate with?
Well, we kick those types out.

So our good kids disdain the ‘bad’
And without much pomp or fuss
We’ll turn the ones we’ve picked as good
Into bigots just like us.

And it’s merit pay to those of you
Who by chance might scheme about
Some cause, not covered in these rules,
To kick some damn kid out.

If it has naught at all to do
With learning in any way
Or with common sense or logic,
The more the merit pay.

And merit pay to those who find
New ways and whys to whack ’em.
And those who don’t hit ten a day?
Why, Der Fuehrer here will sack ’em.”

Suddenly from the far, far right
They heard a piercing scream.
They saw a fellow sitting there
As pale as sour cream.

For in his mind, however small,
A new idea had grown
And since he’d never thought before
The headache made him moan.

For the thought that he had on his mind
Was an awful thought to him.
His color now turned putrid green
And what he saw turned dim.

He tried to speak.  He only groaned.
He turned from green to red.
He gasped, “But what if one should think?”
“What’s think?” the Fuehrer said.

That austere group then smirked as one.
(The pompous smirk they’d mastered.)
If one should think, they all agreed,
They’d kill the little bastard.

Now don’t visualize some mangled child
That looks like beast did claw it.
That feral bunch wouldn’t know
Thinking if they saw it.

And if by some outrageous chance
They’d catch some little duffer.
Don’t worry, they won’t kill the kid.
They’d rather make him suffer.

Der Fuehrer, severely shaken now,
Didn’t quite know what to do.
But he quickly gathered up his wits.
There were only one or two.

He continued then his little speech
With this challenge to them all.
“Merit pay to those who catch
One running in the hall.

And merit pay to those of you
Who homework give the most.
If they never have the time to play
You have a right to boast.

If the work assigned makes little sense
That’s even all the better.
Unless each day it weights a pound
You drop their grade a letter.

Never judge by what is learn.
Judge by the glow they’ve lost
And if they move like zombies
And how much their izods cost.

Act disgusted if they make mistakes.
Spank them if they wiggle
And recommend an EH[1] class
For all of those who giggle.

And if some kid just doesn’t learn
And can’t tell his from hers,
Make sure those in the teacher’s lounge
Know the problem isn’t yours.

Talk about his homelife
And all his nasty traits
So the one who gets him next year
Will know just how he rates.

Emphasize his every fault.
Tell all there is to tell.
When they know how bad he really is
They won’t expect him to do well.

For if he should happen to improve
And learn to read the book.
My god, just think how awful
That would make you look.

And if you should chance to get one
Of those kids you’ve heard about,
Expect him to be trouble
And that’s how he’ll turn out.

And never pay attention
To what any kid does right.
Find and fret about his faults
And so all will know your plight.

At every parent conference
His character assail
And expound upon his weaknesses
In very great detail.

And merit pay to those of you
Who find some way to fail ’em.
If you don’t perform this noble task
Someday someone will jail ’em.

Let them know there’s something wrong
With being just a kid.
And punish them severely
If they do the things you did.

We’ve got to make them just like us
And I command you to ignore
That they are only nine years old
And you are fifty four.

It’s to that end we all must work,
So I command you to beseech ’em
That we'll kick their glutei maximi
If they learn stuff we don’t teach ’em.”

[1] Emotionally Handicapped