By Dan Soslowsky:
On January 15th, middle school history teacher Mr. Howey Davis sent out a rather perplexing email to his students. Explaining the details of their latest project, Davis meant to say “Please pick an important historical event and research it. Do not hesitate to contact me with questions.” However, the email was autocorrected to, “Please pick an important historical event and reenact it. Do not contact me with questions.” The students were absolutely baffled by their newly assigned homework. They couldn’t believe that their beloved teacher would want them to recreate such transformative events, many of which include mass murder and killing, but the email clearly said not to contact him. Here’s how their projects turned out:
Jimmy Wilson decided to reenact the American Civil War for his history project. The Civil War was between two sides of the same nation, so Jimmy figured that it would be fitting to start a war between the members of his family. After dinner, Jimmy walked up to his older brother Lucas and hit him in the stomach, hoping to instigate some sort of quarrel. In response, Lucas punched Jimmy square in the nose, causing it to shatter completely and squirt crimson blood in every direction. Wow, the Civil War sure was dangerous, thought Jimmy, walking off to his room to write his history report.
While Jimmy kept the conflict within the confines of his house, Barbara Johnson decided to take her project to the great outdoors. Barbara chose D-Day as her historical event, and since there were no available flights to Normandy that day, she decided to reenact the seaborne invasion at the Jersey shore. First, she hit an ugly guy in the face with a frisbee to symbolize the powerful artillery that was used by American forces. Next, she rode her boogie-board into a little kid who immediately toppled over to symbolize the strong naval support. Then, she rewarded herself for a job well done with a game of paddle ball.
Branching out from US history, Liam Miller deeply wanted to reenact the Chernobyl disaster that occurred in Ukraine when design flaws in a power plant resulted in the release of harmful nuclear energy. Before anything else, Liam realized that he did not have any nuclear energy on hand that he could use for his project, so he decided to break into the nearest power plant to get some. On his way in, however, he was stopped by a security guard who immediately called the police. Although Liam was never able to get his hands on the nuclear energy, he was able to release a different kind of deadly gas in the backseat of the cop car. ;)
Jack Thompson decided to reenact the Bay of Pigs Invasion for his history project. However, Jack misremembered the fact that this event was a failed CIA mission to overthrow the Cuban government in 1961, and instead bought three pigs off of eBay. He named them “The First Little Pig,” “The Second Little Pig,” and “The Third Little Pig” after the characters in his favorite fable, The Three Little Pigs. Then, realizing that there were no bays nearby, he brought the pigs to the beach to begin his history project. However, his project ended abruptly when he was hit in the face with a frisbee by his classmate Barbara Johnson.
For her history project, Abby Palmer reenacted the 1969 moon landing. She started by emailing her astronaut training application to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, who emailed back saying that unfortunately she was too young to be an astronaut. In response, Abby sent a QuickTime video of her singing and dancing to the Phineas and Ferb song “Aren’t You a Little Young to be a Roller Coaster Engineer” but every time it said “roller coaster engineer” she replaced it with “astronaut.” Impressed by the exemplary performance, Bridenstine simply could not refuse accepting Abby into the program. After years of physical and mental preparation and doing that one spinning machine thingy a lot, Abby finally passed her astronaut training and was ready to set course for the moon. She strapped on her seatbelt and before she knew it, she was traveling at thousands of miles an hour on a rocket headed for the stars. Days passed on the spaceship with no activity, but one morning, Abby woke up to the view of a lifetime. She looked out at the landscape of black velvet space dotted with constellations of shimmering crystal stars, and was absolutely stunned by its overwhelming beauty. It was as if time stood still as she looked on at the brilliant moon, every little detail of its rocky, yet smooth surface now bigger than ever. It was magnificent. When she returned home, Abby opened up her history notebook to reflect on her journey and wrote, “No aliens that look like me with antennae like in that one Phineas and Ferb episode.” Abby really liked Phineas and Ferb.
Andrew Phillips decided to reenact the Industrial Revolution for his history project. He knew that he did not have the intellectual ability to invent new machines, so he instead focused on the effects. One effect of the revolution, Andrew noted, was that many factory jobs were replaced by these new machines, so many people lost their jobs. Andrew reenacted this by working his way up to manager at the local Pizza Hut, and then firing all his employees. Additionally, he realized that the Industrial Revolution led to an incredible increase in pollution. To simulate this, Andrew had his mom drive him all around the town, turned on all the lights and electronics in his house, and pooped in the ocean. That last one was purely for fun.
Upon receiving the email from her history teacher, Emma Brooks was confused just like the rest of the class. While her classmates went on to reenact history events, Emma decided to ignore Mr. Davis’ request to not be contacted and sent him an email asking for clarification on the assignment. Moments later, Mr. Davis responded, “Hi Emma, Oh! Sorry for the confusion-- that was a typo! I meant to say that you should research a historical event for your project, not reenact. Thanks for reaching out. From, Mr. Davis.” Emma thanked her teacher for clearing it up and went on to research the Treaty of Versailles for her project.
At home, Mr. Davis reread Emma’s first email, realizing that the typo must’ve caused some confusion for his other students as well. “Eh, I’m sure they figured it out,” he said to himself, shoveling a handful of popcorn into his mouth and turning up the volume on the 24-hour Friends marathon.