In addition to forcing children to eat corndogs every day at lunch and teaching cursive to children who will never write with connected letters once they leave the blasted place, Ernest Gaullet Elementary has given the world and Dartboard another reason to hate elementary school. After overhearing a second grader who used the rather accurate word “gay” to describe his same-sex female parents, a teacher at the school scolded the boy and sent him to the principal’s office. A few days later, school administrators forced the child to come to school early and write over and over again, “I will never use the word ‘gay’ in school again.”
Maybe Gaullet Elementary doesn’t have the requisite number of child bullies, and the administrators want to meet the quota. Or maybe administrators equally punish students who say things like “school desk” or even “ignorant educators who falsely claim to have one hint of common sense.”
In any case, Dartboard is most surprised by the school’s negative attitude towards the word gay. When did gay become a “bad” word? In its pre-20th century form gay often meant happy and gleeful. And today, gay is an acceptable adjective for homosexual persons. Take conversations from Dartboard’s own experiences. While aggressively fishing for hot guys a few days ago, Dartboard approached one saying, “Damn, Dartboard would like to get to know you better, if you know what Dartboard means. H-O-T, HOT!” To which the man replied, “I’m gay, but Dartboard and I can be friends.”
When the child came home from school, he told his mother that his teacher told him that his family was dirty. Making a child feel bad for his parents’ relationship, whether deliberate or not, is unacceptable coming from an elementary school. Making school administrators feel like pigs for their hateful, reactionary behavior is, in turn, rather acceptable punishment. Before being fired, administrators should be themselves forced to write: “My attitude towards the word ‘gay’ is dirty and irreprehensible” over and over again.
—JASMINE J. MAHMOUD
Carving Up My Heart
In the 15 months since arriving in Cambridge as a super-pretentious, egomaniacal first-year, Dartboard has had to reconcile himself to any number of unpleasant surprises: being deported to the Quad, receiving e-mails from TFs inquiring into Dartboard’s membership in the realm of the living—and, of course, acclimating Dartboard’s sophisticated palate to the gruel served up by the culinary Rembrandts at Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS). That last struggle has, on the whole, been a remarkably smooth one: for as awful as the dining hall can be at its worst (Brunswick will never be a very tasty city, despite the best efforts of HUDS’ beef stew), there are enough points of brightness in the overcooked night to keep Dartboard going.
One of the brightest—located, unsurprisingly, in the den of subtle superiority/inferiority complexes that is Adams House—was Carver Wednesdays. For months this semester, Dartboard looked forward to sneaking into the Porcellian of dining halls in the middle of each week, filling both his stomach and his heart with the help of a certain kindly HUDS employee. Stationed at a table with a heat lamp, a large knife and some form of roast meat, Dartboard’s tireless provider would grin warmly as he heaped beef or chicken onto a ready plate. Dartboard has only the best things to say about the quality of his aunt’s Thanksgiving meal, but could any holiday compare to that Wednesday in mid-October when the Carver’s basso-profundo voice intoned, “Allllll that good turkey” as he piled the poultry high?
And then—it was over. Dartboard went to Adams just the same as any other Wednesday night this week. Perhaps, in retrospect, Dartboard didn’t have quite the same anticipatory spring in his step this time; perhaps, spoiled by so many months of generosity, Dartboard had come to take Carver Wednesdays for granted. If so, all that changed when Dartboard shuffled into the servery and saw—nothing. Where once stood a proud man with a sharp utensil were only a few platters of stale-looking sugar cookies.
Dartboard wept. Then Dartboard got mad. Now, Dartboard just feels empty.
They’ve already started talking about robbing Dartboard’s northern residence of Celeris, the convenience store that makes Cabot’s dim basement worth thinking about. Won’t they spare him the furtive pleasure of a fresh-carved dinner in his adoptive riverside home?
—SIMON W. VOZICK-LEVINSON