Gatekeeper’s Lament

Gatekeeper’s Lament

Here comes Felix, interrupting the class, walking
Straight past me to use the bathroom. He knows I’ve
Been trying to get him to come to class, but he just says
“Not now” on his way out of the Community Center. We
Teach adult learners how to pass the GED. High School
Takes four years, and it can take that long before these
Students will catch up and pass the tests. It’s not an easy set
Of tests, as most of our volunteer tutors barely pass it. If
Suburbanites took a standardized test about the life skills
Needed to survive as an Aborigine in the outback, presumably,
They’d fail. Is it a fair gate that slams shut on an individual’s
Ability to secure a good job, if based on his or her being able to
Distinguish a phrase as coming from Dickens or Austen?
Of course not, but there has to be some means of keeping
The good jobs safe for the right kids, otherwise they might
Have to work next to folks who don’t even know how to
Play golf, don’t give a rat’s ass about snowboarding, and/or
Harbor a distrust of the establishment. We’re not even going
To let little Suzie Creamcheese go to a college that harbors
Pinko professors, so there’s no way we’re about to let some
Ne’er-do-well from public housing work next to her at the
Mall before she graduates to take her job bossing Daddy’s
Employees around; who, after all, probably don’t even know
Who Dave Matthews is, and will never drive a Beemer anyway.

Copyright, Doug Stuber, 2002. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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