Get up and make your bed; go to the bathroom and wash your face; soak your little cloths right after you take them off; wake up your brothers for school; make pancakes for breakfast; always eat your food in such a way that it won’t turn someone else’s stomach; on Sundays try to walk like a lady and not like the slut you are so bent on becoming; you mustn’t speak to wharf-rat boys, not even to give directions; don’t eat fruits on the street—flies will follow you; but I don’t talk to boys and never eat fruits on the street; this is how to clean the bathrooms accurately; this is how to vacuum the living room; this is how to hang a dress in a closet; this is how you iron your father’s khaki shirt so that it doesn’t have a crease; this is how you iron your father’s khaki pants so that they don’t have a crease; this is how you grow figs; make sure you don’t put a lot of water or otherwise they will be too soft;  this is how you sweep a corner; this is how you sweep a whole house; this is how you sweep a yard; this is how you smile to someone you don’t like too much; this is how you smile to someone you don’t like at all; this is how you smile to someone you like completely; this is how you set a table for tea; this is how you set a table for dinner; this is how you set a table for dinner with an important guest; this is how you set a table for lunch; this is how you set a table for breakfast; be sure to wash every day, even if it is with your own spit; don’t pick people’s flowers—you might catch something; this is how to make a bread pudding; this is how to chicken with rice; this is how to make vegetable soup; this is how to make a good salad; this is how to make potatoes in an oven; this is how to catch a fish; this is how to serve the meat to specific people;  this is how to betray a man; this is how a man betrays  you; this is how to love a man, and if this doesn’t work there are other ways, and if they don’t work don’t feel too bad about giving up; this is how to make ends meet; always speak up for what’s right ; but what if I won’t be heard?; you mean to say that after all you are terrified and will never be able to speak up.

It felt really easy for me to write this because I know what I am expected to do. But knowing all the things I have to do just made me feel a little disadvantaged. That if I don’t do them, I won’t be complete. Ms. P should do this writing assignment again because it lets people think about the background they came from and what they are expected to do.



CC BY-SA 4.0 “Disadvantage” by Taleb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  1. Truman 2 years ago

    Dear taleb, I think that this poem is very well written and interesting and I also like the connections you are making in it. I also think that you re right we all live our lives around other people and it is so interesting how we do things out of what we want them to think about us and how we act around them. Its just very interesting to read about very similar feelings that I sometimes feel even though we live pretty far apart and surely led different lives.

  2. Ethan 2 years ago

    Hi Taleb, My name is Ethan and Iam from Judge Memorial Catholic High School. Your story is interesting but its also hard to read along, there is no explanation to anything and the structure is a bit off. You are using the slanted words in the wrong context, they are for titles of book or other material. You are also using the “;” symbol wrong. Your structure is hard to follow but I know if you re-wrote the article and explained the title, it would be even more great and interesting.

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