Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Monday, October 29, 2007

"Not as Long as You Live Under MY Roof..."

Today in my freshman class, the topic was argumentation. We discussed the Rhetorical Triangle and how to use its 3 points to convince your audience of something. The choices in the arsenal are logical appeal (logos), emotional appeal (pathos) and credibility (ethos). The best approach is, of course, a good mixture of all three.

I broke the class into 2 groups. I gave them this assignment:

The group on one side of the room was to represent an 18-year-old girl who is going to break the news to her parents (represented by the other half of the class) that she has met the love of her life. She has been dating him for two weeks. They feel like they've known each other forever. They are madly, unstoppably in love. She has decided to have his very cute nickname tattooed across her chest, just below her neck. The very cute nickname of the love of her life happens to be "Pee-Pee."

Before the scenario was acted out, the "parents" and "the girl" prepared secretly in the huddles of their respective groups. They were to anticipate the arguments that the other side would make, and to utilize all three parts of the Triangle against their opponent. One kid, a very sweet blond boy named Logan, always hard-working and trying to fulfill the assignments, had a deeply earnest look on his face as he asked the members of his group "Do you think Pee-Pee has a job?" The discussion whispered on.

Then, I opened the starting gates.

The 18-year-old girl (who had chosen, as a group, the name Shawntay) burst upon her waiting parents and said "I'm getting a tattoo of my boyfriend's nickname on my chest and there's nothing you can do about it!"

I put the conversation on pause and discussed concepts like "presentation" and "ramping up." Maybe, I suggested, you start out with "Hi, Mom, Dad...what's new?" OK, start again.

Shawntay: Hi Mom and Dad. How are you? I have some news.

Mom and Dad: What is it, Shawntay?

Shawntay: Pee-Pee. The news is Pee-Pee.

Mom and Dad: What in the world is Pee-Pee?

Shawntay (in a very rehearsed fashion): Pee-Pee is the love of my life. We have been seeing each other nonstop for 2 weeks, every day. One day we will be married. But right now I am leaving for the tattoo parlor to get his name put on my chest.

[brief moment of silence]

Mom and Dad: Then you just pack your damn bags and get outta my house, Shawntay!

I put things on pause again. Would there be, perhaps, some reasoning? Some discussion? Some logical appeal? Is there, dare I suggest, some middle ground? OK, start again.

Mom and Dad: What if you get this tattoo and then Pee-Pee cheats on your ass? Then what?

Shawntay: He would never do that. Pee-pee loves me!

Mom and Dad: 'Pee-Pee loves me! Pee-Pee loves me!' Pee-Pee doesn't know one thing about love. We forbid you to see him again.

Shawntay: You can't do that! I'm 18 years old!

Mom and Dad: As long as you live under OUR roof, no more Pee-Pee!

Shawntay: You will never understand anything. He understands me! I'll just go live with him. Right now.

Mom and Dad: Then he can pay all your tuition bills and put up with your shit. And you can give back that Blackberry we gave you.

Shawntay: What?! That Blackberry was my Christmas present!

Mom and Dad: Christmas is over, now that Pee-Pee is here.

At this point, for a split second, even *I* am angry with Pee-Pee. He has obviously brainwashed Shawntay and is going to ruin her life.

The conversation pauses. Both groups look at me for a bit of coaching on where to go next.

"I say we find Pee-Pee and kill him."


  • At 7:06 AM, Blogger prairie biker said…


    There are just so many lurking comments here.

    However, I think I'll just slink off now and use this post to remind my daughter that there is no pee-pee as long as she's living under my roof.

  • At 7:28 AM, Blogger Carin said…

    They need to stop blaming Pee Pee for ruining her life, and look directly at each other. After all, they were the ones who named her Shawntay.

  • At 8:52 AM, Blogger Dana said…

    You know, if I could stop laughing long enough to think about it -
    Lordy if it were me...

  • At 10:27 AM, Blogger Lisa Dunick said…

    I so want to use this in my class.

  • At 10:59 AM, Blogger EB said…

    My strategy as the parent -- point out that with the name Pee Pee, she's looking at the wrong tattoo location. The Pee Pee tattoo should be lower, with an arrow pointing to the corresponding bit of anatomy. Why? Because anyone stupid enough to make that choice might just be stupid enough to forget where her business is. . . or to date people who need road signs.

    You should use that comment later to remind me that creating little people might not be the best idea.

  • At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "Christmas is over, now that Pee Pee is here."

    I love it. Except for the part that this is my worst nightmare.

  • At 11:34 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    In this scenario, PB, your daughter would play the part of the tattoo artist. No way would she be taken in by Pee-Pee.

    Yes, Carin, the name was a killer. But I did this in 2 classes, and the other class named their girl Cindy. She was not nearly as passionate. More just moping around over Pee-Pee and unwilling to confront her parents. Perhaps there is power in the name Shawntay. Heh.

  • At 11:35 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Another blessing to count today, then, right Dana? :)

    LD, it was really fun to use in class. College students are still children and they giggle over "Pee-Pee" and soon they need a little carton of chocolate milk and a nap on their mat.

  • At 11:36 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    EB, there WAS some discussion that in a few decades, the tattoo would be sagging enough to be in close proximity to Shawntay's pee-pee area.

  • At 11:37 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    I loved that line, too, Futuresis. Something about Pee-Pee just told me he would ruin Christmas for everyone.

  • At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 12:29 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    That last comment looked like spam. If it wasn't, post it again with your name.

  • At 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I didn't want to send this under my real name.

  • At 12:54 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    OK, "Antonio." Nice last name, too.

    It's not spam. Sorry for zapping it. The spambots are persistent.

    It's someone's blog, and there's a photo of the great Lindsay Ho-han's "breathe" tattoo. She is, like, so deep. I think she should meet Shawntay.

  • At 1:33 PM, Blogger Jerry said…

    Why didn't I ever have any teachers like you?

    I say, let Shantay have the tattoo. She will either recognize it as a liability later in life or she will not. If she does not, then that means that she will be living and working among like-minded people and it will not matter.

    If she decides it is a liability, that means she has experienced an awakening and wishes to better herself. The painful laser experience will be a reasonable consequence for her poor decision.

    This is not cruel, because each of us has had to pay the piper for some stupid decisions we made when we were young. We are lucky if those errors can be corrected as easily as Shantay's. Some of mine haunt me still and there is no reasonable remediation.

  • At 2:11 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    "Why didn't I ever have any teachers like you?"

    Probably, Jerry, because they had a better screening process in the interviews where you went to school.

    You are so philosophical and kind hearted toward the fictional Shawntay. And all I wanted was to smack her on the empty forehead with a big piece of wood.

  • At 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Um, this post hit a little too close to home, Candy.

    *Sheepishly covers "Pee-Pee" tattoo*

    *Covers "Poo-Poo" tattoo also*

  • At 6:11 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    See? I TOLD you, Jackie O. I told you if you did not stop with your sassing me, I would put your life on display for all to see. Now it has been performed off-off-off-off-off-off-off-off Broadway as a one-act play.

    Just be glad I did not include the details about your jail time in Shawtay's motivation for the script.

  • At 6:37 PM, Blogger Steve B said…

    Let's deconstruct this a bit, shall we?

    Now the parents seem to be essentially in the right, in that, while living with them, Shawntay engages in a sort of implicit verbal contract to obey their rules, and by defying/abrogating this contract, she forfeits the benefits & protections thereof.

    The parents, however, also need to understand that Shawntay, being of legal age, does enjoy certain legal entitlements such that she can be, in essence, self-determinent with her body.

    So, is it perhaps not so much that either party is in error in the positions they've taken, but rather that, as you suggested early on, the poor presentation of the arguments robs them of their (rightful) credibility?

    That said, we also need to understand that the influence of the third party ("Pee-Pee") clearly demonstrates that he's a complete dead-ender, likely to end up on an episode of COPS or America's Most Wanted.

    In actuality, a more prudent approach would be to suggest to the young lady that marrying this slug without so much as an introduction is not a good way to ensure domestic bliss at future Thanksgiving family dinners.

    Or that it's hard to support a family based on what you make working swing-shift at Subway.

  • At 7:02 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Haaaa! Would you want a guy named Pee-Pee to make your footlong?

    Don't answer that. No jokes.

    You have so respectfully deconstructed the scenario of Pee-Wee and Shawntay that I feel I must, for a moment, see Shawntay and her beloved through the eyes of dignity. Just before I back over them both.

    "Self-determinant with her body."


  • At 9:00 AM, Blogger EB said…

    I just did this in class. One group decided that the girl's name is "Big Booty Judy." The other group insisted that Pee Pee be given a normal last name, so he became Pee Pee Jones. It was FANTASTIC!

  • At 9:16 AM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    EB! YAY! And I love the names.

    I wonder if the chick will marry him and become Judy Booty Pee-Pee Jones.

  • At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    "I Luuuuuuuuurve heem. I'm going to tattoo his name on my chest."
    "Fine. I'm going to put snakes in your bed."
    "You do dumb ass things, I'll do dumber ass things. I'm willing to escalate. Go. Get the tattoo."
    "You can't do that."
    "Go get the tattoo."
    "You can't do that."
    "Go get the tattoo."
    "YOU. CAN'T. DO. THAT."

  • At 7:05 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Dear Ana,

    Perfect. PERFECT!!!!!!


  • At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The only way to defeat the crazy is by bringing out the bigger crazy. This I know.

  • At 8:21 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    If ONLY you knew how relevant that statement is for me today.

  • At 10:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey! I've been screaming at speeding cars on the night that's known as "don't-get-hit-as-you-run-for-candy night". I'm all about the greater crazy.

  • At 8:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Thank you! That is THE BEST parenting advice I've ever heard! Of course it will work, and even better, I can totally do that!

    I love it!!!

  • At 1:11 PM, Blogger Ana Martin said…

    Futuresis, I live to serve. :)


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