It is the best of times, it is the worst of times, it is the age of wisdom, it is the age of foolishness, it is the epoch of belief, it is the epoch of incredulity, it is the season of Light, it is the season of Darkness, it is the spring of hope, it is the winter of despair, we have everything before us, we have nothing before us, we are all going direct to the head of the class, we are all going direct to …(said in awed whisper) … the principles office – in short, the season of trepidation has descended upon us all.
That single, one-syllable word, strikes terror into the bravest hearts. Men of courage quiver at the thought of it quite as a Pekenise dog might quiver at the thought of a hairbrush. If someone actually dares to say it, they gasp, turn away, look aghast, and hope that no one notices. Some of the most courageous men of history have been subdued by the stark harshness of that word.
If brave men of battle are afraid of even just word, you can imagine the effect that this causes when children, mere infants, are thrust into the throes of education.
Mothers use it to threaten their children.
“Johnny,” she says.
“Ma’am?” He looks frightened as if he were a goldfish looking down into the dark recesses of a toilet.
“…School!” says she, in a melodramatic voice.
Hold on to your seats, because, believe it or not, ’tis the season.