September 24th, 2004

the perils of surrealism

I got the following email today (names removed to protect THE CHILDREN):

Dear Mr. Narciso Jaramino [sic],

We are a Ninth grade class at L------- High School, Center for Advanced Technology at St. Petersburg, Florida. We are going to participate in the Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF) this fall. We will be building a website that discusses ways to solve the problem of finding efficient and cost effective methods of drastically reducing the amount of toxic waste that enters the environment. We think we can solve this problem by finding new and innovative methods in treating and disposing toxic wastes Since you work in the environmental waste and toxic field, we think you would be the best person to advise us on the technical content of our website. [...] We hope you will consider being the technical advisor for our ISTF project. Thank you for considering this challenge.

The members of Mrs. D----'s 9th grade class at L------ High School.

As it turns out, there is in fact a piece called "on the role of toxic waste in our society" on my website. I would think, however, that even a ninth grader reading it should realize that it's not, you know, actually a serious piece about toxic waste. Apparently our children's reading skills are so poor that they can't even make it to the end of a paragraph to find the irony.

I'm not sure how they stumbled on the piece. It doesn't show up in the first few pages of a google search on "toxic waste". (Though it does show up as the first result for "role of toxic waste".)