Roger Anderson approached his computer with a sense of trepidation. His in-box would be full again, he just knew it. Back to school was the worst. He'd already fielded complaints from a number of teachers. He only had five children. How many more teachers could there be?
Keying in his password, he pulled up the rest of the day's email. Another note from President Kane about the suspected terrorist planet in the Crab Nebula. A notice about the vacant Security Chief position. And - of course - another note from the children's school, his fourth that day. This one was entitled "Concerns About Recent Track Meet." With a deep sigh, he clicked open the email.
Dear Professor Anderson:
While I appreciate the enthusiasm your children bring to the track, I would like to call your attention to the following areas of concern:
1) Shimmying up the flag pole is not an approved track and field event. Please advise Keyop that this behavior will not be tolerated. In addition, jumping from the flag pole is highly dangerous.
2) Jason can not expect to compete in every sprinting event if he does not show up for practice. It is very disheartening for the other children when he only shows up at the meet and proceeds to win every race he enters.
3) Anthony was disqualified from the shot put for leaving the field during the middle of competition to get a space burger. Please remind him to eat prior to track meets in the future. Also, be advised that our school does not encourage the use of nicknames. Given his build, Tiny is an unfortunate choice of monikers for Anthony.
4) Likewise, please submit documentation of your daughter's given name. She is demanding that everyone on the field call her Princess.
5) While Mark is an excellent runner and excels at long jump, he spends far too much time lecturing the other children about the rules. Perhaps you could remind him to focus on his own races.
I trust that you will address these issues promptly.
Joelle Flanners, Track Coach
Thoroughly sick of such emails, Professor Anderson chewed on the tip of his pen. What to write back? An idea struck him, and he began to type.
Dear Ms. Flanners:
Thank you for calling my attention to my children's recent behavior. I appreciate your interest in the welfare of your students. I am certain that you will find the following of interest:
1) Keyop has recently begun training as a gymnast. While use of the flagpole is somewhat irregular, it does demonstrate the tremendous flexibility and potential in my future Olympian. I will remind him to perform these stunts at home for his coach.
2) I have reviewed this year's official Track and Field Handbook - all 105 pages - and there is no minimum requirement for on-site track practice in order to qualify for an event at the meets. Rest assured, Jason gets plenty of exercise at home. I trust that you will reinstate his eligibility for future events.
3) Tiny suffers from a metabolic condition that requires him to eat constantly. Please excuse him to get food as needed. As for his name, you may not realize that Tiny was orphaned at a young age. The only thing he remembers of his parents is that they called him Tiny. Surely you do not wish to take this precious memory away from him?
4) My daughter -is- a princess. Her biological parents rule over a very dangerous planet and it is a matter of intergalactic security that I keep her safe and unharmed. In order to protect her identity - and yours - I can not reveal her given name. Please continue to call her Princess.
5) Mark shows excellent leadership ability, doesn't he? I have heard that you are looking for an assistant track coach. I will advise Mark of this wonderful opportunity.
Please do not hesitate to contact me again if you have any further concerns.
Dr. Roger T. Anderson, Senior Researcher, Galaxy Security
Professor Anderson leaned back in his chair and flexed his fingers. Chew on that, you old windbag. With a wicked smile, he pressed send.