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Back in fifth grade, I was a jackass. I deserved to get picked on, frankly. But I thought it was a good idea, you know?

The teacher was having a difficult time keeping us in line. Kids would misbehave, she'd yell, but nothing would get done. No behavior would change. And it frustrated the hell out of me, because I was that nerdy kid who was there to learn, people.

I innocently suggested to her that various infractions could incur the penalty of copying a number of pages from the dictionary. Word for word, symbol for symbol. That way, kids would stay out of trouble and might learn something new. I don't remember where I got the idea -- something I saw on Nickelodeon, I'm sure.

She kind of blew me off at first, distracted with some child trying to brain another with a world globe. But sure enough, not a week later, I started seeing kids with heavy books at their desks grumbling quietly and scribbling furiously on wide ruled paper.

Though I don't think any of the kids knew I had fomented this terrible idea in our estimable teacher's brain, I knew only sorrow and perdition could result. Sure enough, after engaging in some little bit of mischief in class, I found myself with a cramped hand barely holding onto a chewed, splintered, stubby Number Two pencil, transcribing the pronunciation and definition of riposte.

It's official. I was that guy. And I am so very, very sorry.

I had a high school Computer Science teacher who was a big fan of assigning dictionary writing as punishment. This was given, to be done in detention, to any student who did not have his homework done at the beginning of class. The first homeworkless day got you 1 column, the second, 2 columns, numcols=(2*numcols) every time. This even got to the point where one guy had sixteen columns of dictionary entries to copy, and he had to come in for detention every day until he was done.

This teacher formerly would open the dictonary to a random page and hand that to the student, however one afternoon he opened the dictionary to a page that contained some, well, inappropriate words for a school setting. The student told his parents, and the teacher got upbraided by the administration. After this incident, he chose a few pages that he assigns to EVERY student coming in for detention, since he knows exactly what is supposed to be on the page, he can also tell whether someone has skipped entries.

My music teacher at Catholic school (yes, music class. We had to sing songs and play recorders all the time) in 4th and 5th grade made us do the same thing with the glossary in the back of the music book. However, the punishment was dished out at the class level; she'd threaten us if the entire class was acting up and would indiscriminantly administer the toil to everyone. We also had to do the whole thing, rather than just sections, but that's not asking for entirely too much since an elementary school music textbook's glossary didn't quite measure up to the gargantuan size of most dictionaries.

We all got terrible pains in our hands afterwards. But it wasn't any worse than the essays we had to write if we seriously misbehaved. I remember doing some terribly heinous deed at one point in time (probably when I erased the name on someone's floppy disk and wrote something a bit less flattering in place) and writing about how Satan made me do it or somesuch bullshit in detention. I didn't take it seriously, though; I just wanted to take up more space and disturb my superiors if they ever cared to actually read the damn thing.

But anyways, I digress...

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