What I Did On My Summer Vacation

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By Steven Odhner
Mrs. Farrell's 3rd Grade Class
Indian Bend Elementary

Highscore

The only thing you actually did this summer.

What I Did On My Summer Vacation has long been a popular subject for school reports, despite the fact that children rarely do anything of interest and can barely string a proper sentence together anyway. There are a few, proud K-6 children that make their summer interesting by doing drugs and breaking into their parents liquor cabinets, but much to the shame of our educational system they are only punished for writing this down. To assist these children, here is a basic overview:

Structure

Obviously the most important thing is to format the paper correctly. You can't be running around changing the subject every sentence, talking about Mickey one second and then telling your teacher about Grandma's thirty cats the next. Follow some rules, kid.

Opening

This is the most important part. Your teacher isn't really going to read the rest of the paper half the time, so if you just make this part convincing the battle is nearly over. You'll want to start by giving a one-sentence summary, and then outlining the basic points - three should be good. One sentence per point does it, and after adding an inane finishing sentence this leaves you with a decent paragraph. The basic points can be anything from different places you went to different people you saw. It will look something like this:

This summer, I traveled to Orlando with my mom and dad.  We saw my Aunt Harriet
in her new nursing home.  We went to Sea World, where we got to see all types of
fish.  We even went to the actual ocean, and my brother met a shark.  It was the
very best summer vacation anyone could hope to have, ever.

Don't give away too much here, you'll need some information to flesh out the next section:

Main Body

Grandma

Just pretend she's not in a wheelchair and say you went for a walk in the park or something.

This is where you really have to dig down deep and find some serious bullshit. You'll have to make each one of your points above into a full paragraph, which can be tricky when the only thing interesting about your Aunt Harriet is that her breath smells like she's got a decomposing weasel stuck in her dentures. Fortunately you're probably pretty young if you're being forced to write this sort of thing, so you can get away with lots of short, meaningless sentences instead of the long important ones grown-ups are supposed to use.

Finally, we went to the Ocean.  We swam in the water and made sand castles.  My
brother saw an animal in the water and he went to play with it.  It looked a lot
like the friendly dolphins at Sea World.  The animal was a shark.  I learned that
ocean water gets foamy and red when you put blood in it.  We had to leave the
ocean to go to the hospital.  That made me sad.  My parents could have just come
back for me later.

This is perfect. Teachers love it when you mention your emotions. Also notice how the whole thing has been broken up into lots of small chunks, allowing you to avoid the grammatical worries that come with longer sentences while at the same time padding out your paragraph with extra spaces and restated subjects.

Closing

Here's the big secret the other kids won't learn until college: Copy the first paragraph, and paste it back in here. Add "in summary" or "in conclusion" or something to the beginning, and you're golden. Yes, I'm serious.

In summary, this summer I traveled to Orlando with my mom and dad.  We saw my
Aunt Harriet in her new nursing home.  We went to Sea World, where we got to see
all types of fish.  We even went to the actual ocean, and my brother met a shark.
It was the very best summer vacation anyone could hope to have, ever.

It works every time.

Suggestions

My years of expertise, for you, at no cost.

Presentation

This is a big one. Your teacher is expecting you to hand in some sort of wrinkled, peanut butter covered mess. She is planning on having to carefully pull the disgusting sticky pages apart to read the magic marker scribbles you've covered them with. Wow her. Get one of those fancy folders to put it in, the kind with the clear front. This may seem like a waste, but protecting your paper may actually allow you to turn it in the following year. I actually handed in the same damn report on Mozart three times before the teacher wrote all over it.

Next, of course, you want to make it nice and neat. This can be accomplished by typing it up on the computer. Using the computer also has two other advantages:

  • It makes it easer to plagiarize other people's stuff.
  • With a little work, each paragraph can take up a whole page.

The first should be self explanatory. Find someone else's stuff, steal it. Be sure to proofread it first in case they mention their dead mom or life in Japan or something that would give you away.

The second one is the best. There are three steps to this one, so let me go over them in a little detail:

  • Font Size - Don't get too greedy on this one, but with most fonts you can go to 13 without crossing the line, and with some you can even go further. As a general rule, when the lines are becoming wildly mismatched in length due to the word-wrap you've gone too far.
  • Line Spacing - 2.5 is the magic number here, kids. Teachers are fine with double-spacing, and few can actually tell the difference between two and two-and-a-half.
  • Margins - A lot of people overlook these. Yes, you can modify the margins. Not too much at a time, mind you, but it makes a huge difference. This is a little more subtle than messing with the font size, but there's still limits to how big you can make them. Use your judgment.

Locations

PiratesOfTheMississippi

"My favorite part was the gunfight between the pirates and Mark Twain"

You didn't do anything interesting this summer. Admit it. You looked at pornography online and tortured your pets. You have done nothing you can actually write about without having to spend the next year and a half in the guidance counselor's office. No worries. Your teacher is not going to take the time out to talk to your parents, so just pick one of the following and go for it:

Visiting Relatives

Pick a relative, find out what city they live in, and write. You want to have something touching in there, like learning about your ancestors. It would also be a good idea to list some outings you went on together. Even the park will do if you say you flew kites together. If you see people doing it on commercials for Lemonade, Tampons, or Denture Cream... then you're on the right track.

Disneyland

The old stand-by. If your parents don't love you enough to actually take you, you can take a few minutes out of your porn time to look it up online (the official website is HERE) and get a few details. Theme parks are great because you can pretty much just list off all of the rides and say how fun they were. (ex.: "Pirates of the Mississippi was very fun.") The only risk in using this activity is that your teacher will ask to see a souvenir of some sort. Just to be safe, I would mention in your paper that your parents are too poor to buy you any souvenirs. That should not only avoid the question, but get you some sympathy points.

Make Shit Up

This time I mean completely fictional. Rather than a fake trip to a real place to visit real people, this is a fake trip to an absolutely fake place. You never have to worry about your teacher pointing out that Sea World was closed this summer due to Mad Whale Disease or asking what part of Orlando you liked best, making you worry that whatever you make up might conflict with her actual knowledge of the place.

Keep it simple. If you make it sound too interesting, your teacher will actually want to look into this place. This isn't the time to be playing Dream Vacation in your head, this is just to get some shitty paper out of the way so you can go back to stealing your mother's vodka.

What I actually did on my summer vacation

Peter

The lamest summer activity of all: work.

I'm twenty-six and work in a fucking cube farm. I don't get summer vacations anymore, because I'm supposed to be an 'adult' now or some bullshit. I worked all summer, staring at a fucking computer screen. My wife is a teacher. She gets the entire goddamn summer off, and she makes more money than me too. But I'm not bitter or anything.

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