Annie 7.3.08

Annie 7.3.08

Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2008 7:00 pm

Dear Annie: When I was in elementary school in the 1980s, there was a contest in which students were to write and illustrate books. I thought I did a good job, but on the day of the judging, another girl won. I was not a sore loser. My problem was this: Several weeks before the contest, the exact plot of this girl’s story, down to the names of the characters, had been broadcast as an hour-long children’s movie. I mentioned this to the teacher in front of the entire class. The other girl claimed innocence, and I received a long lecture on jealousy and a note was sent home. My abusive father beat me for being a liar, and I was terribly picked on at school by the winner and her friends. I never forgot these things. I recently did some searching and found the original book for sale online. I have also found links to the movie along with lesson plans for teachers based on the film. I always knew I wasn’t a liar and now feel fully vindicated. I’m 34 years old. Should I let this drop, or should I send copies of the book to both the teacher and the student who “wrote” it? — Amber Dear Amber: We can understand why this injustice has bothered you, but first decide what you hope to accomplish by sending the books. The girl who plagiarized the story already knows she’s guilty. If you send her the book, she will also know that you’ve been obsessed with this for years, which may give her more satisfaction than you’d like. The teacher may not recall the incident, and even if she does, there’s not much she can do about it now. The best you can hope for is an apology from each of them. If you don’t get it, will you feel better or worse? When you can answer that, you will know what to do. Dear Annie: How do I get a beef in the paper? It has to do with men wearing hats anywhere and everywhere. What happened to being a gentleman? — Please Remove Your Hat Dear Please: Not everyone is aware of the etiquette involved, although we’re not holding our breath that this will make a difference. According to Emily Post, men’s hats are considered outdoor apparel and should be removed when indoors. (Women are permitted to wear hats indoors as part of their outfit, as long as they do not block someone’s view in the theater, for example.) Baseball caps should be removed whether worn by men or women. Exceptions include those who cover their head for religious purposes, small children who might lose a baseball cap if there is no place to put it, and those undergoing chemotherapy or who have a medical problem such as alopecia. Dear Annie: Your response to “Middle School Teacher, Illinois” was lame. Much of life is “tedious and repetitious” — washing dishes, doing laundry, going to work and just about everything else. Children need to learn that just because it’s tedious and repetitious doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. My son should have been valedictorian but didn’t do his homework. His mother and I constantly pressed him, collaborated with his teachers to find out his assignments and kept on him until he finished the work, even though he found it boring. Today, he is in charge of quality control at a manufacturing plant. His job is tedious and repetitious and he loves it. Successfully completing your work gives a sense of satisfaction. Not doing so is just plain lazy. Parents need to be tough. — Been There Dear Been There: We agree that children should complete their assignments and that parents sometimes must be tough, and said so in our initial response. We are truly dismayed, however, that you believe one important purpose of school is to teach tedium and repetition. How sad. Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. Published in The Messenger 7.3.08

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