Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Ugly Duckling or Life Is Easier When You're Pretty

We have been on our homeschooling journey for approximately eight months now. I had no idea of all the different skills we are expected to teach our children. It isn't enough to know how to read. Now our little second graders have to ANALYZE what they read. Analyzing books is a subject I struggle with myself. I want books to entertain me, to sweep me along on grand adventures, to make me forget the sink of dirty dishes. I certainly don't want to think - the horror!

One day while we were in the middle of an analyzing lesson, I decided to read "The Ugly Duckling". When I finished the story, I asked my son what lesson the author was trying to convey. He said, "I don't know." Damned if I didn't know either. Was Hans Christian Anderson trying to say life is easier when you're pretty?

Well of course he wasn't, but I still had to consult my dear friend Google to understand the message he was trying to convey, which I believe is don't judge a book by its cover or something like that. But how fun would it be to write several alternate endings to "The Ugly Duckling" each sending a different message? At this point many of you are questioning my idea of "fun." That's okay. I'm a dork.

Ending Number One - Revenge Is Oh So Sweet

The Ugly Duckling couldn't believe what had come in his mailbox. It was an invitation to his tenth high school reunion. Ugly had been teased mercilessly in high school due to his looks. The result of all that teasing was he kept his head down and his nose in the textbooks. He graduated with honors from college. After college, he founded a dating website called Hatch.com and now he was filthy rich. He was, however, still ugly. But it didn't matter because he was rich. (Just ask Jack Nicholson. It works for him.)

Ugly purchased an expensive, custom-fitted suit for the reunion. He debated driving one of his many, expensive cars to the reunion but finally opted for a chauffeur. When he arrived, he was immediately surrounded by former classmates.

One classmate in particular, he remembered. Her name was Chickie and she had been one of his most vicious tormentors, a popular cheerleader who had made kissing noises and then laughed uproariously every time he walked by. Tonight she was hanging on his every word.

He finally got Chickie alone on the dance floor. He told her he had always thought she was beautiful and that she hadn't changed a bit. He gave her his private number and told her not to share it with anyone, but to give him a call after the reunion.

The next day, Chickie eagerly dialed Ugly's number. Her call went straight to voice mail. The message stated "You have reached the reject hot line. Whoever gave you this number is clearly not interested. Sorry, and have a great day."

Ending Number Two - Selling False Hope

Ugly could hardly believe it when he looked in the water one spring and he was beautiful. In fact, he was the most beautiful swan of them all. Many of the animals came up to him and begged him for his secret. When he said there was no secret, they accused him of lying. This gave him a brilliant idea.

Ugly mixed up a bunch of different pond ingredients, added some spring water and a small bit of his own poop. Then he purchased some air time and put on his own infomercial complete with before and after pictures of himself.

Thousands of animals purchased his secret face cream, each one hoping to find the kind of beauty he had attained.

Ugly made millions. Eventually it was discovered one of his ingredients was poop but he had already fled to another country that refused to extradite him.

Lesson Three - Make them your bitches

Ugly could hardly believe how much he had changed. He was the most gorgeous swan of them all. Every animal who had ever made fun of him was now falling over themselves to kiss his ass.

Ugly pretended to make friends with all of them. Then he started silly fashion trends just for fun. One Monday he tied a red ribbon to his tail. By Tuesday half the farmyard had red ribbons tied to their tails but he had already moved on to wearing a straw hat. "Red ribbons are SO yesterday," he proclaimed.

By Wednesday, all the other animals had straw hats. But Ugly was wearing a tie. "Straw hats are SO yesterday," he sneered.

Ugly made a great game of driving all the animals insane in their efforts to imitate him. It was great fun and small payback for how miserable they had made him. Every night for the rest of his life, he laughed in his sleep.

The End