Fish Climbing Trees

With nursery rhymes, folk tales, legends, fables and other various and sundry modes of instructional communication, we learn as children fish are adept at swimming. Tree-climbing? Not so much.

Fish climb a tree

Free to download and share. Click to enlarge.

Yes, this is a paraphrase of an amalgam of quotes and morals mis-attributed to Albert Einstein. It is far more precise.

Failure is big in our society. So much so, people around the globe fork over hundreds of billions of dollars to attend seminars telling them how not to be failures. All they need is the free meme above.

Boy with autismLet’s take Man Cub as an example. This little mugger is an enigma to society. He cannot fill in a bubble. It is a skill schools tried to teach him for three solid years. Not three school years, three solid years. See, he does not get a summer break. He has school twelve months per year. The only time he is off from school is when his mother is on vacation. (Calculate that.)

So, that makes him an imbecile, right? I mean, really? Who cannot fill in a bubble for cripes’ sake? Umm, Man Cub.

And now for something completely different.

Show of hands, who thinks yours truly is the family hacker? (Two huge websites, two forums, monster social media, digital art, not that you should choose a certain someone, mind you.)

How many times have you or have you heard of someone who has been locked out of their computer? On average, it costs about $60 and half an hour to get a hacker to unlock your computer. The hacker computer technician takes your machine in a different room to apply an ancient Chinese secret. Meanwhile, said technician texts the flavor of the week, looks up geek-chic, scans the inbox and plays ten minutes of the MMPG du jour. You are dangling on tender hooks worried about the discovery of your search history and recently visited web pages. Ahem.

Yours truly has occasionally been said hacker computer technician (Forget search history… What tunes do you have?). I never take a penny. Brow sweat is enough for me. Oh, what does this have to do with Man Cub? See, it goes a little something like this.

Man Cub can hack anything. He has hacked three of the latest and greatest child locks. He hacks my CrackBerry and makes telephone calls (even though no one understands what he says on a telephone). He has hacked a friend’s laptop, changed the master administrator password and the portal password. Now, to his logic, it is his computer.

(Gives audience intermission to Google steps to recovering a locked laptop and watch the YouTube video of same.)

Yeah, yeah, if it is on a video on YouTube anyone can do it. Are you willing to try locking yourself out of your computer and going the DIY route? ‘Nuff said. Take a guess who has never seen said video? Man Cub.

(Gives audience intermission to contemplate “cannot fill in a bubble” and “hacks any computer” in same person.)

MC(A³ + BS) + BSp = POd

For the math phobes in the audience:

  • MC = Man Cub for the purposes of this equation, not mass times the speed of light
  • A = Testing authority (cubed in this equation to cover the standard scales on which children test)
  • BS = Pseudoscience, psychobabble, doublespeak, self-congratulatory palaver
  • BSp = Pseudoscience, psychobabble, doublespeak, self-congratulatory palaver condescended into assumed parent-speak
  • POd = One of the main reasons the name is RED.

Only as smart as…

blank computer screen

Programmed by Super Genius

It is a commonly-accepted principle, computers are only as smart as their programmers. Case in point: If the programmer teaches the computer 4 + 5 = 11, it will only ever output 11 when asked to add four and five. A parallel principle is almost as commonly-accepted: Tests can only gauge to the level of the person creating the test.

For example, if Billy-Joe-Bob creates a test which includes pictures of a ’52 flatbed Ford and gives it to Sing-Chi (who has never seen anything except electric cars, monorail and rickshaws), Sing-Chi is likely not going to pass Billy-Joe-Bob’s identification of common objects module. Sing-Chi is the fish in the tree.

So, what?

Try this on, it comes in five psychedelic colors.

1. If the person being tested does not speak a language the tester understands, testee is docked points. In other words, if the tester does not speak sign language, the testee who answers in ASL is marked down for failing to answer and inappropriate body language gestures in the course of the conversation. Yay, Billy-Joe-Bob!

2. If the testee answers an appropriate answer to the question, which is not in the field of correct responses to be accepted, dock some more intelligence points. James T. Kirk was a moron.

3. If testee is a virtuoso in any field not measured by the test, no credit is given. Talk to Stevie Wonder about how non-consequential the piano has been in his life, you know, since he cannot see to fill in the bubbles without stray marks and all.

4. If the testee points out there is not a correct answer to choose and opts to skip said question with no correct answer, mark that wrong. Someone way smarter than the tester says “C” is correct, by thunder.

5. If testee has issues with short term memory, obviously tester is going to take off major points for that. Only idiots cannot parrot precisely what someone says randomly, without warning, out of context to previous conversation and beyond the scope of the testee’s general knowledge. Duh, already. Repeat after me: An acre is an area whose width is one chain and whose length is one furlong.

That fish is not getting up the tree any faster, is he?

The Answer

AIf the fish would just forget about swimming at a virtuoso level and just repeat the simple steps of climbing a tree and then copy the orangutan who just leapt into the boughs, he could be intelligent, too. Stupid fish.

Man Cub cannot do some things other eight-year-old boys do, like tie his shoes or brush his teeth or recall where he hid the remote control. Man Cub can do things most adults cannot do. He inherited his Minnesota Twins father’s pitching arm and his mother’s power of research. He could escape from Alcatraz. 

Since he cannot fill in a bubble, he does not even rank on the IQ scale.

(Pauses for effect. Swallow that sip before we reconvene.)

Learn Blocks

Learn to climb!


Since it is obvious (to everyone who is not me) Man Cub is intelligence-impaired (because he is a fish), the thing we should do is abandon everything which resembles swimming and teach him to be a primate. Oh, and when he rails against the machine, we need to label him as aggressive and combative (like his mother) and further implement more drastic measures to make him stop using those gills. After all, what good are gills in a tree?

While we are at it, he needs to grow lungs and speak English. Well, it is the only language spoken in the civilized world of primates.

And he needs to hold a crayon in a tripod grasp. (Never seen a chimp do that, have they?) We all know how important pencil skills are on a keyboard and a touch screen.

A&D or B&C People

Roman for 1,000

Roman for 1,000

People can generally be classed in two groups: A&D people can get from A to D as long as they know where A and D are. B&C people need you to tell them all of the points, A though D, to get there. Me? I am an A&M kinda person. I will wave out the window when I pass D because M is far more interesting.

Every.single.person in the testing community believes in trolls no one is capable of knowing where D is unless they already know where A, B and C are. For example, since Man Cub can type, spell and read well enough to Google, surf YouTube and email Meet the Robinsons, it is apparent he needs to be tested to prove he can write with a pencil (inside a bubble). If he cannot write with a pencil, there is no need to test if he can type. E.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. knows if you cannot color between the lines you cannot possibly type.

Can you see the eye twitching from there?


Why is what we test merely about compliance with either test demands or test environment? How do you feel about standardized testing, especially for children?

Hashtags: #testing #autism

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  1. Even for what would be considered the average student, most of our educational system is about compliance and meeting standards. When you see things differently, or don’t want to see them the way others do, you are rarely given credit for being original or unique. One can only wonder who many potentially great minds have been “normalized” by the system.
    Binky recently posted..Nature of Existence Part IMy Profile

  2. In college people always said I was so smart cuz I was always studying. I said, no I am not smart so I always have to study.
    Bearman recently posted..Sagging Mattress CartoonMy Profile

  3. I say just let him play with THEIR computer for a while.


    P.S. You blog hates me today, won’t let me login via any method at all.
    Mike W recently posted..Blog Post Links: So Good – So Bad – So ImportantMy Profile

  4. “Tests can only gauge to the level of the person creating the test.” Having taken and made countless tests in my time, I can attest to this. Never really thought of it that way before, though. Brilliant!

  5. Mary Helms

     /  February 18, 2014

    What gets me was that they call it learning, I call it mimicking. Man Cub can be understood if you take the time to listen, not only by words, to what he is trying to tell you. Sometimes it took me a few minutes, but we communicated. I only went to college a few months and I feel like I get him better than any of those ladies that came to test his ability.

    • We are beginning to turn a corner with MC. He was talking about all kinds of things today. xxx

  6. You know what I think, it likely shouldn’t be repeated it is unladylike.

    I agree with Mike, give him their computers. Shouldn’t take long.

    By the way, it won’t be long before writing with a pencil will be obsolete, then what the hell will they do?
    valentine logar recently posted..Not EnoughMy Profile

    • When I die and they find my stash of 250 pencils, someone is going to laugh and laugh. xxx

  7. Cogent and brilliant, Red. Wouldn’t it be great if we had an education system which met all ages right where they were…because everyone intakes and outputs information in different ways. Here in Oregon, the educational Poobahs have declared that kindergartners MUST be able to count to at least 100, and write a simple paragraph. (in addition to all the other coloring and scissor-handling skills a 5-yr-old must learn to be successful).

    After this first year of state testing, the Administrators were moaning at the sad deficit of youngsters’ skills. Never mind that parents, teachers and experts said the benchmarks were beyond stupid.

    It is unfathomable that people who call themselves “educators” are so minimally endowed with wisdom.

    And I agree with RLB Hartmann about your statement: Tests only gauge to the level of the person creating the test. It should be made into a poster and given to each person who evaluates another…in any way.
    Hugs. Thanks for my mental, emotional treat today.
    Barb recently posted..Women, Booze and the Homefront: 1943My Profile

    • Somehow, the year-end result is not a shocker for me. So, I have to ask… In all your 19th century research, you have run across a primer, yes? What is really interesting? The 6th grade curriculum.

      Ironically, we had that education system in your research era. One room school rooms passed children from grade to grade based on aptitude, not age. The rank and file system in schools today is bureaucracy, badly executed.

      *curtsies sweetly* Thank you for stopping in today, Barb. <3 xxx

  8. Why is it acceptable to paint everyone by the same brush? Are we not individual with marked differences when it comes to ability and learning? It boggles my mind this type of testing, whether in schools or anywhere else. I know I don’t fit any box the way someone may think I should. Why should anyone else?
    Time to think OUTside the box.
    Tess Kann recently posted..Flash in the Pan – MotorcycleMy Profile

    • Amazingly, we were all outraged when the communists executed standardized testing and placements. We do not bat an eyelash when they are used as a tool to gauge work product of some of the lowest paid contributors to our future. They are masked as accountability tools, yet used to marginalize those who take them and crucify the wrong people when they are failed.

      It makes my eye twitch.

  9. My 13 yo and I just had a conversation about this this evening. He told me all the ways he is a failure and because of such life sucked. I told him .a fish tested on climbing a tree will go through life thinking he is stupid that we all have our gifts and purpose. He is bright and funny and creative and perceptive about people..but they dont test that stuff. In the insistence they all learn the same ..they soon judge themselves by what they can not do..and forget the gifts they have. Its sad.
    Lizzie C recently posted..Why ask Why? Mid-Afternoon Mental MomentMy Profile

  10. Why is there always a given template to follow in life, when all of us are individuals with our own abilities, sometime special and incredibly unique?

    Theory and putting theory into practice are two very different scenarios, after all some can be deemed as being incredibly smart on paper and yet the simple changing of a fuse can confuse and baffle. My point is who needs to colour within the bubble when intelligence unseen colours far beyond the sphere of understanding.

    In your words, it makes an ape wonder…

    Andro xxxx


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