Monday, August 25, 2008

How Do You Get An "F" For A "My Name" Essay?

For most of us, school starts this week, so I wanted to celebrate it with this quick trip down the proverbial Memory Lane.

My oldest son LilProgrammer, as his name implies, is scary good at all things technical - math, science, software, hardware. However, his English teachers have my sympathy. Last year, when LilProgrammer was in 9th grade, I was checking his grades on the school website, as usual. One line caught my attention:

"My Name Is.." essay: F

Naturally, I was curious. How do you write about your name that you've had for the last fifteen years and still manage to get it so wrong that your work receives an "F"? As soon as I got home, I begged LilProgrammer for a copy of the essay. He didn't have the final copy, but was generous enough to share the first draft. Here is this timeless work that has entertained dozens of my coworkers and my LJ readers in the past year. As a side note, LP had attended Sunday School for seven years. You can see how much of it stuck.

My name is Ilya. You might be wondering what "Ilya" means, or maybe you don't care, but I'll explain it anyway to pad my essay up with stuff (this thing has to be like 3 pages long):

"Ilya is from the Bible; it represents the prophet Ellijiah, except with less terrible spelling. Actually, I'm not really sure what it means since I haven't seen a bible in two or three years. Ellijiah did some stuff and I'll mention it right now:

Ellijiah and his son lived in a forest, or some sort of grassland or something. I don't think he has a wife and I'm not sure how his son came into existance in the first place. Anyway, Ellijiah got a message from God. He opened it and read it, and it said:

"Dear Ellijiah,
Please kill your one and only son to prove that you like me more.
Your lord and savior,

Ellijiah was very depressed because he liked his son a whole lot and would miss him if he killed him, but he told him to go on a hike. When they got somewhere, he tied up his kid and everything and got ready to stab him. Then, he got another message from God:

"Dear Ellijiah,
Hi again. You don't have to kill your kid, I was just kidding.. Heh..
Your lord and savior,

Ellijiah was very happy that he was allowed to keep his kid and sang and danced and did whatever he did. The end.

No story is without a morale, and the morale of this one is that Ellijiah and God are insane and completely crazy.

So, now I bet you're wondering why my parents decided to name me after that guy, right? What's that? No? You don't care at all? Well, I'll write it anyway to increase my word count:

A week after I was born, my parents decided to name me. They wanted a unique Russian name and decided on Ilya, after Ellijiah, which was actually not unique and a pretty common name.

I'm not sure why they decided to name me after a guy who was seriously considering killing his son because the voices in his head told him to, and who lived in a forest alone. Must be something in the water...

I bet you're dying to find out what I think about my name. Hmm? You're dying of boredom, you say? You know the drill:

I don't really [know?] what my name means or what it is, it will always represent who I am to me. So, I wouldn't change it if I could. I would mind if it were changed though; "Ilya" has been my name for my life, and I associate it with who and how I am; any other name wouldn't feel right. (I'd say I like my name because it represents me and because I've gotten used to it over time.)

Enjoy your new school year, everybody, and remember to always inflate your word count!

The Goldie has spoken at 3:49 PM

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