The other day Dylan came home with a note from his teacher explaining that he was showing a tendency to rush important class instructions during their focus on state testing. Apparently, among other things, he’d managed to complete part of a test in less than an hour, when it was expected that each kid will work on it off and on for two weeks. I will be interested to see his results, the teacher had written, ominously.

Yeah well maybe he’s just a genius, I thought with irritation, before sliding my glance over at the MENSA-approved child in question who was 1) wearing a shirt both inside out and backwards, and 2) embroiled in a robust armpit-fart competition with his brother.

After a lot of questioning and some confusing answers it turns out that Dylan had mistakenly completed the test without writing anything in the essay part, even though the system requires that something be entered in the box, so maybe he just clicked some random keys or typed “BUTTS,” who knows. I delivered a halfhearted lecture about paying attention in class and slowing down to make sure his work is done correctly, but I can’t find the gravitas the note seemed to imply I should. I hate that third graders are subjected to state testing, and the truth is, I don’t much care if he flunks the entire thing.

He’s 9. He’s sweet-natured, never acts out in school, loves reading and writing and animals and can tell you the name of every actor who’s ever been in The Walking Dead. He’s dreamy and easily distracted and far more used to clicking YouTube videos than participating in weeks-long class assignments.

When I dropped him off this morning, two boys immediately ran over to greet him. My once-too-shy-to-make-friends kid went walking into school as he always does these days, flanked by his buddies, everyone laughing and talking a mile a minute.

You ask me, his results look just fine.


— A washing machine that flips all my kids’ inside-out clothes the right way

— Kitchen cabinet doors that quietly swing shut on their own after sensing that they’ve been left open for more than a minute

— A Facebook algorithm that can detect whether I’ve already seen That One Article Everyone Keeps Sharing and spares me from the follow-up backlash thinkpiece titled “A Keyword-Heavy Rebuttal from Someone Angling for the Gold in the More Woke Than You Olympics ”

— A workout video in which the instructor complains and swears the entire time

— Drone-powered giant foam index fingers that fly in and press firmly against the lips of any clerk who doesn’t take “no thanks” for an answer when it comes to those fucking loyalty cards

— An avocado ripeness notification app

Total Recall-style nail polish

— A toilet seat that delivers a long-distance harmless but decidedly uncomfortable electric shock when it receives excessive amounts of moisture

— Sharpies with child-proof locks on the caps

— Bags of cherries that come with a pop-up warning after you’ve eaten more than a handful: Are you sure you wish to continue? Y/N


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