So I was watching old episodes of Batman Beyond, and one episode, entitled "EggBaby," struck pretty close to home.
When I was in West Babylon HS, they began this horrifying project in my health class, obstenibly intended to teach us parenting responsibility. It was to be a month-long assignment, with this horrying little Lovecraftian abomination called "Baby Think It Over," a doll with a built-in computer that I'm almost entirely sure is a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
Do not look into its eyes, or it will take your soul.
The general gist is that you have to take care of the baby - holding it, taking care of it, etc, and occasionally "feed" it by inserting a key into its back and holding it in position until it stops crying. Every single time you are rough with it, drop it, handle it incorrectly, or insert/turn the key when it's not crying, it counts as an "abuse," and every time you ignore its crying, it counts as a "neglect." Get too many "abuses" and/or "neglects," and you fail the assignment, and because, for reasons unclear, this accounts for 50% of our quarterly grade, quite possibly the year. You had to hold and care for it when it cried, and when these things cried, they did so at a decibel level far beyond your average alarm clock. Worse, the health teacher could play with the settings on each and every baby as she saw fit, programming them with docility or making them as unstable as wolverines on methamphetamines. And even worse, though the assignment is supposedly opt-out, the School would not let most of us do so, and in fact, threatened to auto-fail us if we did not submit to the yoke of Baby Think It Over.
But five students would stand against the tyranny of the radical baby agenda.
Their story began when we all were saddled with these insufferable things at the start of the project, unable to opt out. Of all five of us, only one of us managed to get out of the assignment; my friend Brett - by grandstanding for a length of time until the Health teacher gave up in disgust, allowing him (and only him) to opt out. But Brett's rebellion came later; the first shots in the war were fired by my friend Joe and my friend Devin.
Everyone was forcibly given one of these insufferable ear-raping noise-machines, and were instructed to care for it for the month. When my friend Dev tried to back out of the assignnment, bringing up that, with him being in a work program, going to school, and having other assignments, he had no time whatsoever to care for the screaming little terror, he was told that it was not the school nor health teacher's problem. As such, Devin elected to make it everyone else's problem; he figured out the lock on one of the unused teacher's lockers directly across from the Principal's office, threw the Baby inside, closed and locked the locker, added a padlock for good measure, and then left. Within a half hour, the infuriatingly loud wails of the Baby Think It Over reverberated off the locker interior, filling the hallways with concentrated annoyance. By the time that custodians got into the locker, it had been screaming off and on for nearly six hours, driving the administrative staff completely insane.
Joe, meanwhile, decided that if he was going to deal with this, we was going to ensure that it was in the health teacher's best interest that Joe be given a written assignment instead. Within 3 days, Joe had his baby rocking the "Hobo" look, had applied a fake beard from a vending machine, and was apparently considering giving it a tattoo - due to the Baby's specially-designed skin, Ink stains it readily. Clearly not willing to risk losing a $200 piece of equipment to Joe acting like this, the Health teacher wisely relented, and Joe got out of the assignment.
Christine had probably the worst of it. Going through a problem with her ex at the time, he reacted by basically taking and abusing the hell out of the Baby Think It Over for an entire day, virtually guaranteeing she'd fail the assignment. With no other options, Christine decided that if she was going to lose, she was going to lose big, and began likewise, abusing and neglecting the baby. This included throwing it like a football, using it as a footrest, and smacking it in class. Less than a week later, her doing so had effectively burned out the speaker. She undoubtedly would have set a record, had it not been for me (see below).
I got out of the assignment in perhaps the most logical fashion: I acquired key for the electronics boxes on the back of the Baby Think It Over, and used it to access my baby's hardware - and then shut it off. I then proceeded to turn it back on the day we were returning them. For good measure, I hit the reset button on Christine's baby, completely blanking the Abuse/Neglect scores she had accrued. Both of us thus got passing marks, and learned nothing from the assignment except how to cynically manipulate the system.