Today, two men in suits came to the counter.
"We're with the Time Police," said the taller of the two.
"What can I get for you?" I asked.
"In 2133, the reason why people hiccup was discovered," said the more clean-shaven of the two. "The resulting truth led to the collapse of civilization. We're travelling back in time to make sure it doesn't get discovered."
"Yes," agreed the one with the narrower face, "Keeping down the secret of hiccups is what we do."
"So can we get a free reuben sandwich, with spicy brown mustard?" asked the one with the nicer shoes, "For civilization's sake?"
I'm not supposed to do that, but once in a while, when civilization is at stake, I make an exception.
"Okay, sure. But you have to answer one question first..."
Why do elementary, junior and high schools in the United States teach subjects which will never be used in adult life?
To shape our youth into good citizens
To provide exposure to many possible future paths
To take up time and keep kids off the streets
To continue existing educational traditions
To provide a broad background for a full world view
To employ teachers of a variety of subjects
To preserve that knowledge, for the sake of knowledge itself
To attempt to bring that knowledge into common usage
To appease those who are accustomed to that knowledge
To assert and imprint the state-sponsored answers to all questions