People From Around The World Share Their Terrible School Essay Stories

People From Around The World Share Their Terrible School Essay Stories

Writing is one of the most important inventions in human history (though, admittedly, we're a little biased on this one). Before we could write, knowledge only survived as long as the guy who knew it. Sure, he could tell someone else, but if you have ever played a game of telephone, you probably know that's not the most efficient method of preserving knowledge.

No, it was writing that was the big game changer. These days, however, writing is more often used to make everyone stupider. I'm looking at you, social media.

Look no further than these school essays for proof that maybe writing was a mistake after all.

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40. Honestly, seems like a waste of public resources

I was teaching an IELTS test prep class to high school-aged students in China. One of my students is planning on being a nutritionist, and when I gave her a topic about what she would change if she could be the president for a day. She said that she would imprison everyone who was over a certain BMI until they were thin, and if they were repeat offenders they should spend life in prison for wasting public resources and making healthcare more expensive for everyone else.

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39. If he kills you let us know

I teach literature at a college and mostly deal with freshmen and sophomores. For our freewriting unit, one of the assignments asked the students to write any original story based on your favorite fictional genre. So, one of my students wanted to do horror. I said great! That's also a favorite of mine. Go nuts.

Eventually, the assignments are turned in and I'm grading them at home. I get to the kid with the horror story and it's about a psycho who stalks women. Okay, whatever. Nothing I haven't seen before.

But then the story goes into long, excruciating detail about the next victim this killer plans on stalking/assaulting/killing: a petite blonde in her early 30s who teaches English. And it just so happens I'm a petite blonde in her early 30s who, well-- yeah.

I didn't report it or anything since it was a creative exercise. I didn't grade him unfairly, either. But I seriously couldn't look that kid in the eye ever again.


38. This kid sounds just like chat bot, Harry Potter obsession and all

I had a student in high school who was really struggling with the writing prompts I was giving him (he was studying hybrid genres in school, and how to write a hybrid genre short story). So I basically gave him a long list of genres, told him to pick any two he wanted and combine them to write a story.

He didn't get it.

He emailed me asking for clarification, like "which topic do I choose here?" and I told him he could be as creative as he liked. Pick horror and sci/fi, pick mystery and crime, pick romance and mystery, whatever strikes your fancy. I literally could not have given him an easier prompt.

Then he asks me to give him some examples of hybrid genre stories, so he has an idea of what to write. So I emailed him a list of famous hybrid genre books (e.g. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, Gun With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem, Harry Potter, etc).

This kid basically latched onto "Harry Potter" and rewrote the sorting ceremony from Sorcerer's Stone, word for word.

There was no orientation (no info about his main characters, who were coincidentally also called Harry, Ron and Hermione), no complication, no climax, no resolution. It was literally just an incomplete retelling of the sorting hat ceremony from the first book.

Not only did this kid fail to think of a single creative story idea, but he also plagiarized one of the most famous books of all time and was dumb enough to think I wouldn't notice.

It really made me despair.

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37. Your kid is hilarious

My son had written something to the effect of, "Heaps of people have heaps of hobbies..." So we had a conversation about using more academic language and employing a wider range of vocabulary.

I come back ten minutes later and he'd used the thesaurus function in Word so it now read, "Piles of people have mounds of hobbies..."

Just. Wow.



36. This just got too real

The prompt was if you could go back and change one thing from your life, what would it be. A young man wrote about the night his drinker dad came home. Apparently from the story, dad came home this way often. The fateful night he wanted to change was the first time he stood up to his dad. Dad came home, kid defended his mom and dad in a rage, left. Dad got into a head-on collision and died. Kid totally blamed himself for his father's death.


35. That certainly is an interesting dynamic you got going, there

We had to write short stories in high school English. My best friend was struggling for inspiration so me, self absorbed teenager, told her to write about me, when I'm a beautiful successful professional ballerina. She took the idea and ran with it but took a dark turn, and had me assaulted backstage by the director of the ballet company. She showed it to me proudly before class, and when she saw my face as I read it, started backpedaling hard about how it definitely wasn't about me me, she just got inspired.

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34. False, Grilled Cheese is the best sandwich

My freshman year of high school we were told to write an argumentative essay about anything, then a presentation to the class. Most people chose things like gun control, legalization, gay marriage, some heavy topics of the time. (This was circa 2012)

Being the young genius I was, I did my essay on why PB&J was the best sandwich the world has ever known. I went into detail about health benefits, found a study online about what children's favorite lunch is, etc. Ended up with a B+. As a C- student I was content with my grade to say the least.

The following year I had the same teacher for my sophomore class and when teach issued the same assignment we had a list of prompts to choose from. Needless to say I was proud of the effect I had on the rest of the class.

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33. Go ahead, try to prove her wrong

One time a student wrote about a first date that went horribly wrong, including running over a cat and having it stuck to his truck tires, and then vomiting at dinner.

Another one that stands out wasn’t a topic, but an assigned research paper. A student maintained that she didn’t need sources because God told her the information. She actually cited God as a personal interview in (correct) MLA format.

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32. Lartin Muther could be literally anybody!

A classmate of mine had an assignment to pick a photo and write a creative story about it.

He wrote two.

The first one was about the entire English class being stuck on an island and how they were going to survive by killing and eating each other. He made the people he hated in that class the sacrifices.

The second one was about a world where gay people had taken over and were the majority and how he and the remaining straights were going to fight off the "apocalypse".

He had to read both to the class as punishment. He also almost got suspended. Yikes.

The funniest part was that the school clearly states: No real names.

So he took names like Martin Luther and made them: Lartin Muther

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31. He was killed by Lenin Hockey Oswald, so sad

In high school, We had a history essay to write about JFK and one of my classmates wrote the entire essay by naming him Jean-François Kennedy. Yes it was in France, my teacher was so astonished by it, he asked her why she didn't write the abbreviation JFK instead of guessing the name, and she answered that she actually thought his name was Jean-François Kennedy.

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30. Why waste time say lot word when few word do trick?

I was teaching a University 101 class. Study habits, how to write essays, time management. How to get by at college for kids who honestly aren't really ready for college. The assignment: "1 paragraph about something that interests you." One of those "essays" read, "I am interest in blueberry muffin. Like how they round on the top and ripped on the sides. That what I like " I kept that on my fridge for a year.

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29. Is her last name Poe, perhaps?

My student (9 years old - female) wrote about two best friends, they were at the mall when one of them got kidnapped by a villain, who put her in a suitcase and took her to London. Everyone searched for her and she was found dead, the villain had killed her. The police arrested and imprisoned him for 10 years and they killed him. The girl’s best friend was really sad and killed herself and then they lived happily ever after.


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28. Just because you write creepy stories doesn't mean you are creepy

I was a sub, was helping a teacher by grading some papers, she told me not to worry about content, just focus on their grammar and spelling. Many of them were wonderful stories about trips to the beach, fantasy writing, and one kid wrote a cute sci-fi story. But then I found one kid wrote not one but a number of horror stories. 5 different stories with the protagonist dying in somewhat ironic ways? Like one guy dying while riding his sister's pink bike after making fun of her earlier because of the color.

Honestly, it was good horror writing and I was interested to meet the kid. He was a tall blonde boy that had the nicest smile and was so sweet with the other students. Then realizing he wrote a story about a mother killing herself after hallucinating that she killed her baby. Realizing that this sweet, young man was filled with extremely dark thoughts changed me.

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27. So, like The Purge, then?

The prompt was to create a holiday and what the traditions and customs of the holiday were. A student created "national black people day". I was like OK, how are you going to celebrate it? She said by killing white people. I was like what? She said yeah, once a year we can kill as many white people as we want.

I got the counselor involved.

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26. They never mention this in the Ken Burns documentaries

In college I once wrote an essay where I argued that Hitler was responsible for the U.S. feminist movement. I used the most simplistic logic. I wrote it as a joke. But my professor gave me an A because it was well-written and she thought it was funny.

The gist of it was that one of the main issues that caused the women's movement was that during World War II many men had to leave their jobs to go to war. While they were gone the women took over those jobs. When the men came back they wanted the women to just go back to the house. The women instead wanted to be able to have jobs of their own since they now knew that they could do the jobs as well as the men. So my backwards logic was that since Hitler was the main cause of WW2. No Hitler = No Feminism.


25. So I take it he wasn't trying to get into culinary school?

A friend of mine got high before his university entrance exam and ended up writing a four-page essay explaining how much he would love to eat a pie.

...Life didn't get much better for him after that.

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24. That's almost impressively lazy

Senior year of high school we all had to write a 20 page research paper on a subject of our choosing and then present it to our class. I got mine done junior year because I was slightly advanced with my classes (ended up with an A on the paper, C on my presentation). So of course, I helped my friends out. Other classmates found out and started offering to pay me to write theirs (got quite a good lot of income that year).

One girl contacts me a day before the essay is due. She has 4 very rough pages done, with only the intro being solidified. I know her from my volleyball team, she’s nice, but a complete stoner. I say I’ll try, and charge her a lot for 16 pages in one night. She chose to write about how the government’s banning of weed is to control and subdue the populace (which is partly true), but all of her sources are from backdoor websites and conspiracy theorists.

Since somehow the source list got approved by the teacher (she was in the lowest level English class), I couldn’t change anything and had to go off the crazy sources she had. It ended up being an essay about how the government does prohibition even though George Washington liked to smoke up (he didn't, he just harvested hemp), while maintaining a secret experiment program where they test different substances on humans to create super weapons.

Surely an interesting experiment for me. Surprisingly the essay also received an A, although she ended up getting a B because she submitted it late (I did get it to her in time).

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23. If I was Father Jim, I’d treasure that essay

In 3rd grade I moved to a new school. I was in a Montessori before, the new school was a catholic school. I was a Unitarian Universalist, and we always called our preacher Reverend, not Father.

In my new school, the school priest, Father Jim, was retiring and we had to write a short essay about how much we'll miss him. This was like, I dunno, the third day of school? I had no clue what a Father Gym was, and since nobody bothered to write out his full name I assumed this school just had a weird name for the gym. So of course, I wrote an essay about how much I'll miss the gym, and how terrible it's gonna be that I can't run all over it or play football in it anymore, and how terrible it is that the gym is "re-tire-ing." I ended the essay wishing the gym well with its new tires.

The teacher was not amused.

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22. Rain is just cloud tears

My kid wrote a report about weather cut and paste from the Internet. The language varied in writing style and grade level from paragraph to paragraph. I offered that rewriting in her own language was the minimum she could do to avoid making it obvious she plagiarized. She decided elementary school level was her style and chose to rewrite the college level paragraphs. When she thought an acceptable substitution of “cloud depression” was “The weather is sad”, I just gave up.


21. At least he was passionate

In middle school I was forced into this leadership class. The last project we did in that class was a 5-6 minute presentation on any subject of our choice. There was this scrawny and weird kid in the class that was always on his phone and he never talked to anyone. Well, presentation day comes around and this kid rolls into class with a poorly-made koala head and we all assumed that he was going to inform us about koalas or something.


This kid, full of energy, storms up in the middle of the room and gives an extremely detailed presentation about his fursona. I remember his presentation time being far longer than 5-6 minutes and no one stopped him. He even went over common vocab used in the furry community and shared a couple of paragraphs from his poorly written fan fiction involving his fursona and a Five Nights At Freddie's character. I felt incredibly bad for this kid because he was extremely creative, but instead he spent all of his time and creative efforts on something that doesn't really matter to him nowadays.

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20. You tricked yourself into an excellent and enriching learning experience

When I was in high school (mid-90’s) they started pushing free writing assignments in every class (including classes like band, art, and math.) By “free writing” I don’t mean that the teacher would give us a writing assignment relevant to the class. The principal would literally get on the PA system at a particular time and announce that it was time for the writing exercise and then we would have like 30 minutes to write whatever we felt like. The assignment wasn’t even really graded on anything besides participation.

We always knew ahead of time what class period it would happen in and my friend and I thought the entire concept was stupid so we would grab a dictionary, flip open to a random page, and randomly pick a word that we had to include in our essay. We’d have a contest to see who could use that word the most times in their essay and the only rule was that it had to make sense in the context of whatever we wrote.

I remember writing an entire story using the word “fraxinella” (it’s a type of plant.) I don’t remember a single detail about it, but I managed to work it into my completely ridiculous story about 10 times. Another time we picked “cyborg” which was pretty easy to do, but to make it more ridiculous I decided to make it a time-traveling “cyborg fraxinella plant.”

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19. I mean, that’s essentially Transhumanism in a nutshell

When I was a freshman in college, we had a write about anything essay, so I decided to write a three page paper about why people needed to figure out how to evolve like Pokemon, if we were to survive in the coming years. I got a C.

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18. Could've made straight up a million dollars off of this

I wrote a paper on an Armageddon, but the only people who survived were a cult who worshiped Danny DeVito and Slenderman (It was later revealed Slenderman was a HUGE Danny DeVito fan). It was unknown how the apocalypse started for the first half but later it was shown that God himself struck down Danny DeVito for being too attractive, which put most of the population off the map.

At the end it is revealed that it was just a prank by a super alien race named the "Floridians" (No relation to the people of Florida, except one of them might have had relations with an alligator... It was never explained), and all they had to do was hit the respawn button on their Minecraft account

I got a B-


17. I don't know what's more offensive, him saying that to a tutor or him confusing Raisinets with Raisin Bran

I used tutor Middle Schoolers and lower classmen (Just graduated in HS). A kid wrote an essay about Cavemen using Hieroglyphics to communicate how they'd fight the dinosaurs (the essay was written about an early human civilization and compare and contrast their way of life to ours). This kid was in AP World History (effectively a college-level class) and didn't understand that there were around 63 million years separating Dinosaurs and the first Homo Sapiens civilizations.

He then told me that I was incorrect and posed the question "if dinosaurs were dead then how did people ride them". I was truly baffled by that. This, an incident where a guy threatened to "scoop my nuts like they were Raisinets", a girl who didn't understand that countries that exist now didn't always exist, and a guy who couldn't understand how supply and demand works simply because he would "just go out hunting if food gets too expensive" is why I stopped tutoring history and economics.

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16. That's one way to get a good grade

My friend and I were sitting secondary school English and we had to write about a crisis for an end of year creative writing test. He decided to write about how he was in a crisis of failing this test due to us having a week full of nonstop exams all filled with technical difficulties and mistakes prior to this exam. For him, this test was the final straw and he spent the hour ranting about how much he hated this test and how he was going to fail.

He passed with flying colors and a note from our teacher:

"Be a little more appropriate and less on the nose next time."


15. Can't say I'm shocked

I  nearly got suspended from my Catholic girl's school for writing my assignment on homosexuality and self-love in the Bible, and saying that there really isn't much of a case against either, depending on the interpretation of particular passages. They'd given us a list of "controversial topics" (heavy drinking, divorce, and assault were on the list, but it was extensive) and told us to discuss them with reference to the Bible, so I did. Those two topics were on the list of topics open for discussion. The teacher just didn't like that I disagreed, as usual, with his personal stance on the matter.

My parents got called up to the school and were like... "Why on earth would you set this as an assignment if you didn't want them to discuss it?!"

Eventually, the deputy headmaster decided my teacher and the whole assignment was stupid so we all got let off and the assignments got marked by a different teacher.

The same teacher outed a girl in my class during "prayer time" and added to the prayer that he hoped she changed her mind before she burned for all eternity... then wondered why about half the class got up and walked out. We all got threatened with suspension for that until someone's father contacted the local media. That teacher is still working at that school, 10 years on. The hypocrisy of that teacher alone would have been enough to turn me off religion for good, but that school as a whole did a fine job of making me hate the Church.

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14. Can't imagine this backfiring in any way

I used to be a manager at a college radio station, which the staff and managers were completely made up of students. We would give the regular staff CDs to write reviews for that we would post on our website. One student was trying to get out of work but would get mad when we gave him failing grades. So he listens to these CDs and the reviews are really good.

Like, professionally reviewed good. Quick Google searches show that he literally copied and pasted all the reviews from the band websites. So naturally, we fail him and tell him he can’t do this. So he goes to the dean claiming we treat him unfairly because we are being racist. All we needed to reply with was print outs highlighting where the websites had the exact same reviews that he wrote.

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13. I can buy it

Not too long ago for my AP US History class, I had to write an essay on the assassination of JFK. We had to include the Warren Commission, two conspiracy theories, and then what we believe happened. I summarized and explained some of the conspiracies, then it was time to do the “what you think happened” part.

I came up with a wild story about how JFK never actually died, and that the Kennedy we see in the Zapruder film is a fake Kennedy, and how the real Kennedy faked his death so he could run away with Fidel Castro, whom he was madly in love with. I got an A on the essay and my teacher asked me to summarize my theory to the class.

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12. That was a participation C

In 8th grade we got assigned to group projects on different events. We had to write an essay and do an act of it as well. My group got the Kellogg Briand Pact...we didn’t bother looking at a history book. We instantly thought Kellogg’s cereal so we did an essay about the history of the cereal company. The act was even better, we acted out cereal mascots going out to a club and someone was Tony the Tigers security guard.

Somehow we ended up with a C at least but my teacher was dumbfounded.

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11. Jam matters

I gave a 5 minute speech about jam for my high school speech class. My sources were all cookbooks. Everyone else was doing a speech on something that mattered.

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10. That ducking sucks

A mate of mine had an early word processing program on his Amiga that he was very proud of (I think it was called Wordsworth). He once wrote a huge school essay with it about South African activist Steve Biko and finished it the night before it was due in.

He did a spell-check but it was going to take hours so he set it to find and fix errors and went to bed. In the morning he printed it out and rushed to school to hand in his huge essay all about somebody called Steve Bike.

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9. How many times did you have to die before making rule #3?

I work with delinquent teens; the kids that you don't want to share a classroom with your own children. Many of them have spent as many years in jails and facilities as they have in a classroom, so they're usually sufficiently behind the curve when it comes to education. I'm also an English teacher, so I get some beauties.

I've had multiple research papers turned in which are clearly a copy & paste of any random article, usually not even meeting my 5-page length requirement. (But I'll give props to one student. To prevent plagiarism, I try and explain it by saying your paper can't include any words you don't know-- so one kid did the copy/paste, then started looking up all the words he didn't know in the dictionary.)

Oh, and I tend to die in a lot of gang shootings and drive-byes in my creative writing class, despite the standard rules of 1) no detailed violence, 2) no using real people unless I know they gave you permission to be in the story, and 3) if I'm in your story, I'm not allowed to be killed.

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8. The American dream?

The assignment was to write about what you plan to do in the future for a living. The number of guys writing about dealing drugs or gang membership was very high. A lot of strippers, mostly female. A lot of kids talking about fostering kids for the money, health care, and free rent that comes with it. A lot of girls talking about having 1 kid at 18 for free rent for the next 17 to 18 years and then having one other around 36 to continue the process so they wouldn't ever have to work until they were in their 50s.

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7. I just imagine a bunch of footballers jamming to Swedish House Mafia

One of my football players wrote an essay about driving home after a game with four of his buddies. It was a game they'd lost and they were quietly listening to music when one of their favorite songs came on. They all started singing and sang all the way through the song. Then, without speaking, they hit replay and replayed the same song over and over all the way home. It was one of the most beautiful and surprising essays I've ever read. It gave me hope. It was about friendship and loss and finding solace in music. I think about it now and then and wonder what happened to that super buff, wildly underestimated dude.

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6. So, what part of Alabama are you from?

My husband assigned topics for a research paper but because they were argumentative essays, the kids got to choose their position on the topic.

One student wrote that religion belongs in the government more. His argument was that "most wars aren't caused by religion so therefore the government should be based on religion". He also said that the US should be a Christian nation and is based on the Bible, and how can you have freedom of religion if the government isn't Christian?

In my own experience, I had students do a project on famous scientists. I gave them a list they could choose from, but one student told me he wanted to do someone not on the list but he couldn't remember the name and he'd email me later with it and I agreed. I get an email later that night saying "I remember, it's Ken Ham". (Ken Ham is a creationist.)

I was straight up told him "absolutely not, he is not a scientist. Pick someone else." He didn't argue, at least.


5. I missed this episode of Community

I used to teach English at a Community College, and sometimes my mature students would write essays that revealed way too much about their lives. This one guy wrote a paper about how his marriage fell apart. You might think that would be very moving; instead it was just bizarre and concerning. The story began with him getting an “unexpected rash.” I know what you’re thinking, but no… it’s even weirder.

The rash was basically swamp-butt. He wrote at length about how this "rash" caused his wife to stop hooking up with him and refuse him any intimacy. After some time, he and his wife got a divorce, and he entirely blames the rash for it.

It isn't much later in the essay (at this point a good six pages long) that he details his struggles with proper hygiene due to cheap toilet paper causing this rash.

So, because this guy couldn't wipe his butt properly, he lost his wife, his kids, and his sanity... to the point where he decided to come tell me about it.

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4. I'd write about the dullest version of The Purge ever, with people repeatedly jaywalking, littering and not picking up their dog's poop with no repercussions

My Catholic high school asked for students to write about what they would do if there were no laws or lack of morals. This was inspired by The Purge, which had been discussed in ethics class.

12 students were suspended indefinitely (2 or 3 ended up expelled, the others returned eventually) for what they wrote, ranging from assaults to... well, purges described in the most graphic and disturbing detail. Even though the assignment made it more than obvious that it was meant to be fictional and lighthearted, by relating it to The Purge the teacher pretty much goaded students into matching or exceeding the level of lawlessness depicted in the film.

Made national news, there were articles by psychologists for days.

Not a single article even came close to suggesting that if you give 17 to 19 year olds an opening to go against good taste, that most of them would do so for the lulz. Two students (the date-assault one and the mass shooting one) did not find another school and did not graduate, or at least had to redo their last year.

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3. Call someone an avocado next time you're angry, just to see how they react

Not a teacher but a teacher heard me swear in class sophomore year and made me write an essay about why swearing is bad so I wrote an essay giving all of the reasons why swear words are no different from other words (not bad) and how not allowing us to say them is limiting free speech. He wasn't amused.

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2. You don't want to know

When I was in middle school, we had an assignment to write a story about anything. This quiet kid who was kinda nerdy and didn't talk to people much wrote this very graphic and detailed story about going into the woods and cutting open a dead fox he found. He talked about things like seeing the "crimson water" flow down his knife. It creeped everyone out and the teacher just kind of coughed nervously and said "good detail". If you have ever read the book Empire Falls, this kid totally reminded me of John Voss.

I wonder what he's up to now.


1. Add in how technically Cell was the first character to go Super Saiyan 3 for extra credit

In the last year of school, our English teacher let us do a presentation about anything. I straight up took the chance to tell everyone about every Super Saiyan transformation there is.

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