Another FIRST inspired story for my Literature class - Setting: Nationals 2001

I love this literature class. I can write what is called a “Reader Response” to the text to fullfill our writing qualifications, and I can incorporate FIRST into them sometimes.

Well, here is one of the responses I wrote about a short fiction called “How to Tell a True War Story”

I should also note that in a reader response paper, it it less about the selected work and more about personal opinions and what the text reminds you of.

Well here is my response paper - Let me know what you think:

*How to Tell a True War Story *Reader Response

Story telling is a key element in the short fiction How to Tell a True War Story (by Ernest Hemmingway). Whether telling a story for just the sake of recalling the past for fun, or telling a story through words to preserve history, the story is always going to be different depending on who tells it.

In April of 2001 I was in Orlando, Florida for my first Robotics Championship events for a local Robotics that team I am on. When we were all done competing, we still had an extra day to spend at Walt Disney World. The Championship event was being held at Epcot so we were staying at one of the Disney resorts for the extended weekend while we competed. The last day that we were there, a group of us decided to explore the Magic Kingdom since we still had time left on our “park hopper passes”. The day started out alright with us leaving from our hotel and taking the tram from the hotel to Epcot where we could catch the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom. We went on the Monorail and went to the Magic Kingdom, and spent the morning there. We had to be back early that afternoon so we could catch our flight back to Connecticut, so we left the Magic Kingdom via Monorail heading to Epcot to pick up the tram to the hotel. I believe there were about 7 or 8 of us in the group. We waited for the monorail and when it came we got into one of the cars. The cars on the monorail can easily hold about 20 people comfortably, and we lucked out and found a car with no other people on it. We all got on, and sat down, and seeing that there was nobody else sitting on the seats at the end of the car, I did the “cool” thing and sat on the back of the seat, with my back against the wall, and my feet on the actual seats. The Monorail left the station and we were probably talking about how we might just make the curfew that we had, so we could give ourselves enough time to pack the bus and head to the airport. Well, in the midst of this talking, the monorail turned a corner. As I tried to balance myself, I grabbed up for what I thought felt like a handle to grab on. As I grabbed this handle, the panel above me came loose. I was surprised, but was able to keep my balance throughout the ordeal. I tried to figure out what I broke, and I looked up and saw the words “Emergency Exit Only”. Apparently, I grabbed at the emergency exit’s handle, and opened it just a bit, thankfully not enough to set off the alarm. Well, I thought the only thing to do was to put it back into place, so I tried clicking the panel back into place. It would not go back in, so seeing as the panel was about 2 ft. x 4 ft. I was going to just take the whole thing off and put it on the seat. I went to pull it down and by this time, one of the people I was with was trying to see why it wouldn’t go back together. So, I said something like, “forget putting it back together, just help me take it off”, to which he replied, “I don’t think you should pull it off, because it looks like there is a wire attached to the panel that goes up into the Monorail”. Hearing this, I feared it was an alarm trip wire of some sort, so I tried putting the panel back into place again. When I was unsuccessful again, I sat on the seat and held the panel up for the remainder of the ride – probably about 10 more minutes or so. There were pictures taken during this time by the people I was with, of me and the panel. I tried to hide my face in embarrassment, but was unsuccessful.

After we stopped, everyone I was with ran off of the Monorail car, leaving me holding the panel. I did not see where they went after they turned the corner, so I feared they ran off. I decided right then and there, that I would just run off of the Monorail if the doors started closing and risk the alarm going off. The next thing I see in the doorway is a maintenance guy coming in, with his eyes fixed on the panel. By this time, I am letting it rest on my head, as I am sitting on the seat because my arms got tired of holding it up. I tried to mumble something like, “Sorry…” or something like that, but I think he said “Don’t worry, these things happen all the time”, which I’m sure he lied about.

Nowadays, when I am with the group of people who were there that day, someone always brings up this story by asking, “Hey, remember the time Elgin broke the Monorail?”. This usually receives a lot of questions and a retelling of the story if anyone in the group has not heard it already.

It is stories like these that made me become a part of the archiving and the web page sub team on the Robotics team. Retelling of stories, whether they be on paper, or actual storytelling, (not to mention the addition of pictures) leads to an understanding of the past and even to a laugh here and there.

As a side note, when this story is retold, the words may change depending on the person or persons telling it, but it still gets a laugh at my expense, which is fine with me. I hope people learn from my mistakes – of which I have made many.

We should use this story in our team brochure. :stuck_out_tongue:

Not only do you get to build a robot but you get to break stuff!

or better yet, what NOT to do at a robotics comp! :yikes:

P.S. I can’t wait for Jessica Boucher to stumble upon this thread. Maybe she has some photos of this. :smiley:

Funny you should say that, Jay :wink:

I wasn’t planning on reading this thread…“Oh, it’s just Elgin being a dork again, trying to find things that rhyme with TRIBE…”

But that was a pretty accurate telling of the story. Concurrent to this story, one of our engineers tripped backwards over a potted plant while trying to take a picture of one of the boys with yet another bunch of random girls (they have dozens of pictures. trust me.)

Ooh! Pictures!!



Wow Jess! You were pretty quick putting up those pics! :smiley:

Looks like I’m going to have to bake you cookies now. :stuck_out_tongue:

Whoa… I don’t even remember posing for that second picture mocking Kurt’s fall. lol
And she says she lost the pictures… :rolleyes: C’mon…
Burn me a CD of all those pics will ya?

Noooo, that I got from one of the kids, I don’t have all the pics.

Would you just tell the story? :stuck_out_tongue:

Update…I got this paper back today from my teacher, and this is the comment I recieved:

“You’ve focused on the most intriguing (at least to me) aspectt of “How to Tell a True War Story”, the art of storytelling. Excellent!!”

And I got my two points for the paper… Yay!!:smiley:

As the phrase goes that many writers abide to, and I have done in this paper, “Write what you know…”

Worked for me! :slight_smile: