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The following mock student narrative uses all 50 words/topics the New York City Department of Education wishes to avoid on their standardized tests. The offending text appears in blue. Read the related blog post here.

It was just before my 16th birthday and the day before Ramadan. I always celebrate my birthday early so we can eat cake and junk food at my party. I had invited a few of my friends over to watch “War Horse” on the home theatre my mom and dad put together for me.  I think my parents still feel guilty about their recent divorce, and my mom is overseas a lot working on the environmental impacts of the nuclear breach caused by the tsunami that hit Japan.  My parents made sure I got something special and more expensive than I could ever afford. I am a total film buff and spend way too many hours in front of a screen watching or making movies, but I really want to be a director when I finish school.  I also love history.  Apparently, my great grandfather supported the ‘underground railroad’ so I’m thinking about doing a documentary on slaves escaping to Canada. The home theatre was a perfect gift.

It was hot on the day of my party so my friends and I started the fun by hanging out around the backyard pool, swimming and floating around with blow-up toys, and generally shooting the breeze. We talked about the hockey riots in Vancouver following the Stanley Cup playoffs last year. We had just started debating how much vegetarian pizza to order when two teenagers around my age suddenly burst into the yard. They came through the gate so hard that it sounded like a drone missile had hit the fence!  I jumped back like a cornered animal. I didn’t want bloodshed or violence at my party. I quickly did a risk assessment.  Who were these home invaders who had scared the crap out of us?

One was a male. He carried a ghetto blaster which thumped out horrible rap music. Pretty low on the evolutionary chain, I decided, judging from the cigarette clenched in his rat-like teeth.  His music was so loud I could barely hear the “Stones Greatest Hits” my dad had been blaring on his sound system behind the pool bar.  The other intruder was a female.  Maybe transgendered.  Whatever the case, she was into Goth, as she sported a black trilogy of hair, nail polish and lipstick. She carried an empty box of beer and had a plastic hunting knife strapped to her left thigh like Angelina Jolie.

Wait a minute. “Empty beer case?  Plastic knife?” I thought.  I paused, using my intuition and powers of keen observation to zero in on their intentions.  No serious weapon or threat here.   I didn’t see these two capable of stealing our laptops or video games.  More likely, they just crashed the wrong party.

Just then my dad came out of the house.  He had been working all night on a movie sequel where he was playing a laid off school teacher without health insurance who couldn’t afford palliative care.  With his unshaven face and tired eyes, he looked more suited to the role of terrorist than cancer patient. He looked rough, but no worse than Nicholas Cage in any one of his numerous movie roles.  In any event, I knew these two wouldn’t mess with a deranged looking guy like that.

“Hey, Mr. Pournelle!” said the rodent guy and the lipstick chick in happy chorus. I spun around in surprise.

“Hi guys,” my dad replied. He turned to me to explain. “That’s my character’s name in “Bodily Function”.  They play homeless kids in the film. They don’t know anybody around here…but they know Spielberg. They were in his last movie…”

‘War Horse’”, rodent guy said, removing a set of false teeth from his mouth. We aren’t celebrities or anything, but your dad said you’d just die if we showed up as a surprise!”

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