Coping With Ennui #socs

I remember learning the word “ennui” in seventh grade. It stuck with me because it was the first time I had a word for how I really felt about school. It was more than merely boredom, it was boredom that annoyed me. Evidently “ennui” and “annoy” have the same Latin root. In school, there was really nothing to do about it but feign interest and try not to fall asleep.

One day (I was in seventh or eighth grade) I yawned in class and the nun asked “Are we boring you, Mr. Holton?” I made my apologies and tried harder not to yawn. Now that I think about it, I should have said “You’ve been boring me since kindergarten.” It would have been closer to the truth. Maybe that’s why I connected so well with Calvin & Hobbes: I understood Calvin. My flights of fantasy to fight the boredom of the classroom were nowhere near as colorful as Calvin’s, though.

Wonder what would have happened if I had answered that question the way I should have. I’d probably have been in serious trouble, but I think it would have been worth it.


Stream of Consciousness Saturday is brought to you each week by Linda Hill and this station. Now a word from Kool menthol cigarettes. When it’s time for a change, come up to the menthol magic of Kool!

35 thoughts on “Coping With Ennui #socs

    1. Absolutely. Read the books of John Taylor Gatto, who was Teacher of the Year in New York State who quit teaching when he realized the sort of damage public education was doing to kids. And the number of kids (predominantly boys) who are diagnosed with ADHD and drugged into compliance is a scandal that involves the drug companies and school districts (who get extra funding for the number of kids with “disabilities”). A few drug company executives and school officials deserve to do hard time.

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  1. I would fantasize asking, “Permission to speak freely?” or “Do you want me to be honest?” But that might have gotten a negative response without the pleasure of speaking freely. Who’s that cute kid in the photo? He looks like he could’ve gotten away with a few transgressions.

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  2. School is there to teach, but not the pre-digested garbage that they teach. It is to be compliant and to understand your place in society. If you don’t go with that flow or are unable to hide it well enough that you don’t go with it, there will be consequences. I remember Calvin & Hobbes and I also remember Charlie Brown, where everything adults said was blah blah blah. That tickled me as a kid.

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    1. The subject matter they teach in school is just a way to justify putting kids through the soul-crushing experience of twelve years of education (public or private). Reading, writing, and arithmetic are all important (particularly reading), but not at the expense of a kid’s imagination or mental, physical and spiritual health. The most important things they teach in school are to show up at the right time, to respond to the bells, to eat lunch at a specific time, to ask to go to the bathroom, and to not speak unless spoken to.

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    1. Getting expelled would have been the least of my problems. Mom, who was a teacher, would have been furious, and trying to explain it would have only made it worse.

      Banning cigarette ads on TV and radio probably didn’t change how many young people took it up (including me), because so many adults were smoking at the time and we saw it almost everywhere. Plus, the ads were pretty entertaining. If you’ve never seen the Flintstones Winston ads, they’re all on YouTube.

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      1. I love the Flinstones, I’ll have to take a look. I have similar feelings on cig ads on tv. Today teens and young adults are vaping, it’s a tobacco company jackpot. I can hear it already…I didn’t know they had nicotine in them. Luckily they are at least soon to be regulated, who knows what their huffing. The ads didn’t stop me either, we all make choices and I knew they had to be bad for you. When I was a kid, the mentality was if it’s expensive it must be bad for you since we had nothing expensive to eat or treat on. Have a great weekend.

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  3. The brighter the kid, the harder it is to keep (earn) their attention. I enjoyed most of school, but I was, even then, a daydreamer and a writer.
    You’d have a whole nother story, bout the time you sassed that boring nun 😉

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    1. so-smart kids together, which didn’t help matters. In 8th grade, I and the other five smart kids who took algebra would spend the afternoon with the not-so-smart, and it actually worked out better for all involved. You’d think they’d learn from that….

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        1. There were two years (4th and 6th grade) where they separated the boys from the girls instead of the bright and not-bright, and it was fine. In fact, it was good not having the stigma of how smart or not they considered us. That wasn’t the deciding factor of why you were there. We needed that. If I were putting classes together, I’d make it random.

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  4. I think if you would have told the nun the truth your hand would have been sore from the ruler. Nuns could be evil. I was told the same thing in more than one class and, 8n fact, I fell right asleep only to wake up from my dream because someone in my dream kept repeating my name. I woke up to see my teacher standing over me saying my name. The kids were snickering as he asked me a question pertaining to school and I told h8m I had no idea because I was asleep. I got detention.

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  5. Oh, I remember boring teachers and boring subjects at school. I didn’t dare say anything and I went to public schools, but I sure felt like it from time to time. 🙂

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