It's Just Cytokinesis As We Know It
By Jennifer Wray
Ohio, and the outlying area are known for flat swatches of
farmland, tract homes, and high-achieving students. It is
God's place, a place where meetings begin with prayer and
end with polite inquiries about one another's health. The
students, who drive their parents American flag-emblazoned
SUVs to school, are apple-cheeked and always, always sincere.
I have seen the town's dark side.
a reporter for a community newspaper, scads of press releases
fall across my desk. They alert me of impending annexations,
lawsuits about impending annexations, city council meetings
about impending annexations, and similar flotsam. There is
an occasional notice about a "kangagator" (a half
kangaroo/half alligator mascot educating area youth about
dental hygiene), but the releases are generally dull enough
to turn an insomniac narcoleptic.
this one was different.
release said, in part: Honors biology students will be presenting
the third annual Karaoke Biology program...
was all I needed to see. I taunted my co-workers with my findthey
were busy writing about school leviesand put in a phone
call. I discovered that Karaoke Biology is the brainchild
of Ms. M, a longtime teacher at Pickerington High School.
The singing started, she said, after she was given a karaoke
machine for her birthday some years ago.
year, her honors biology students are required to sing for
their peers. They choose a song, topic, costumes, props, and
at least 10 facts incorporating biology jargon into their
revamped tunes. I needn't hear anymore. I headed to Pickerington
High School with hope in my heart and annexations a distant
arrived and walked into the schools media center, a
sterile room filled with electronic doodads. I secured a stiff
plastic chair, nestled amid a gaggle of bezitted teens, and
let the first song begin.
right...stop, calibrate, and listen/Genes are back with a
brand new mission/Instructing each bodily function/Doin
their job, jus so you can be somethin.
guysall of whom my mom could maul in a cage matchwere
dressed like minigangstas, clad in baggy, rolled-up warm-up
pants, white wife-beater shirts, and camo bandanas. They strutted
around, singing a Vanilla Ice rip-off, "Genes, Genes,
Baby." The crowd screamed as if they were central-Ohio
rapping, I wrote in my notebook. That was quite a feat, compared
with the following acts.
of the horrors came from a four-person group (two guys, two
girls) covering the A*Teens, a Swedish group aiming to be
the new Abba. The students act was a box-step filled
nightmare. The two boys sang dolphin-pitched lyrics about
mitosis while the two girls glared at them, cursing the boys,
their two left feet, and their tin ears.
alcohol to aid in karaoking, the afternoon grew painful. When
three performers broke into "Old McDonald (Had a Genetic
Disorder)," I almost longed for an annexation. The simple
barnyard tune left the three performers stumbling over lyrics
a blood clot here and excessive bleeding there/here a clot/there
a clot/ everywhere a clot-clot...
best not to repeat what they sang about Down syndrome.
the show, I talked to several of the girls who sang "No
Sex," an abstinence ditty set to TLCs "No
Scrubs." Playing the dutiful journalist, I asked them
if they enjoyed the performance, if theyd learned anything
by researching for their song.
both said no. They hated singing and didnt learn anything
from doing it. One of the two said, angrily, that she would
never do anything like it again.
was a terrible angle. I scooted over to another section of
the media center, where a group of freshman sat, and got them
to say what I neededthe karaoke was fun, if a bit silly,
and they couldn't wait to sing when they became seniors.
duty accomplished, I headed back to the office and waited
for 5 pm to take me away.