At the start of every semester, students in Paragraph City storm the bookstore for the purchase of things academic. Along with their books and Bics, each is issued the standard college safety net.
This is a distressingly familiar item to our students. Some subscribe to the notion that it’s the most important item they get, having depended upon it in the past more than books or notes, concentration or memory. But if you are around when the packages are opened, you hear four kinds of disappointment.
“Why is it so small?”
“Whatsitmean, it’s nonreusable?”
“Is it supposed to have these holes in it?”
“Not very stretchy, is it?”
The safety nets they used in high school might extend across an auditorium, bounce dropped grades like bowling balls on a trampoline, and convert a History D- to a B+ as easily as a Geometry 66% to a 94%. Certain nets, by Addidas or Nike, would catch multiple grades simultaneously and only start to show signs of wear into the Junior year of high school. And if by some chance an English teacher didn’t failure-proof his class, fine mesh Kevlar nets were amply available from principles, guidance counselors, school boards and even parents in helicopters. By the time Commencement arrived, even stumble-drunk, blindfolded bozos with clown shoes and vertigo could ride unicycles on tightwires 15 feet above the gym hardwood.
All of which doesn’t prepare people too well for our single use disposable, pocket handkerchief sized, college-ruled safety nets.