Today was the first day of school here in Virginia Beach.

One of the teachers at Sam’s high school included an assignment for parents to send them an e-mail. I’d like to present to you for your reading pleasure, my first draft:

An Open Letter to Sam’s Teachers

Hello. I am Sam’s father.

I think Sam is great. He loves learning, and is capable of absorbing information like a sponge. Unfortunately, Sam is also highly flammable and would probably dissolve easily in most solvents. I have also been told by a number of dragons that Sam would be crispy and good with ketchup.

Sam is also a very deep thinker. Given enough time, he is capable of seeing through vast amounts of information and formulating an argument that presents a new and unique perspective on almost any topic. Unfortunately, Sam tends to present his argument in either Wookie or Klingon. On his best days, he is capable of moving fluently between both those languages, sometimes using both in parallel. It may be important to note that this is sometimes confused with his still budding interest in the language of zombies, so if he becomes difficult to understand, you may need to be sure he is actually using a language in which he is reasonably fluent.

Some of Sam’s food choices may be confusing. Allow me to present the example of the regular, unfrosted, room temperature Pop-Tart. These are normally prepared and served as if they were frozen warm toast. I would suggest not mentioning the frosting, as we are not currently aware of the political status of whatever is growing behind the toaster as a result of Same scraping the frosting off any number of frosted room temperature pop tarts. Last time it was checked, it seemed to have organized itself in a bicameral legislature, but there was the possibly of a civil war brewing between the frosting and the assorted other pop tart toppings. Sam has taken this state of affairs quite personally, having envisioned a somewhat more delegated socialist anti-nationalist political regime. He is currently working tirelessly with representatives of both sides of the frosting, attempting to negotiate a lasting peace with all ingredients treated fairly and equitably. The recent amnesty offered to all sugar crystals after their somewhat explosive attempts to form a breakaway republic is a testament to his dedication to this process.

Beyond his capabilities in the previously mentioned sticky (as in frosting) political situation, Sam is willing to try any food from anywhere on this planet, and possibly any thing he can imagine as food on any other planet appropriate for carbon-nitrogen lifeforms. I do believe that he has finally learned his lesson about attempting to recreate the cuisine of silicon-based life on a planet that he may not have entirely imagined one evening (almost, but not quite entirely). There is one small caveat, please provide snacks other than popcorn. Same has recently come out against popcorn, stating something quite definitive about the polling numbers along his gum line being at an all time low.

Please pay no mind to the multiple attempts to overthrow whatever governing system you have in place for managing your classroom. If you find that he is doing nothing, please be aware that he has tried at least twice (once with marginal success) at staging a bloodless coup. Pay particular attention to anything involving other students being organized into groups of secret police. This is particularly important should you discover multiple groups believing they are the secret police for the classroom. His previous marginal success involved a rather detailed study of divide-and-conquer tactics, and he believes he may only need to tweak a few more of the variables.

I think you will enjoy having Sam in your class this year. He is a challenging student, dedicated to learning, especially those lessons and skills that align with his goal of global domination by the time he is 20. I do hope that this is just a phase, and he will quickly learn that global domination comes with its own set of opportunity costs, especially those related to the feeding of the hungry, and the riots and civil disobedience that results when this doesn’t happen.

I look forward to working with you and Sam’s other teachers. I fully expect that we can quickly establish a counterinsurgency when he is least expecting this.

Good Luck, You will need it,

Sam’s Father