Country Reports

Justin was very excited about the country reports they were doing in school. He’d spent a lot of time drawing pictures and diagrams.   He’d even done extra chores so that his mom would buy a small treat at the store for him to share with the class. His report was going to be the best one in the class. Did they have a trophy for that?

“Who would like to go first?” Mr. Armstrong asked.

Justin half-stood and waved his arms wildly in the air. “Me! Me! Pick me!” he yelled.

A few other students had their arms raised, but mostly everyone was staring at Justin.   “All right then,” Mr. Armstrong said.   “Justin, why don’t you go first?   I appreciate your enthusiasm.   You must have an awesome report to share with us.”

“Oh, mine is the best. You may as well give me the trophy now,” Justin said. He smiled hopefully.

“There isn’t a trophy,” Mr. Armstrong said.

“A certificate with a gold seal?”

“No,” Mr. Armstrong said.

“A ribbon?”


“A hall pass?”   Justin asked.

“We’ll see,” Mr. Armstrong said. “Why don’t you give us your report now.”

“All right,” Justin said. “Prepare to be amazed.”   He pulled out the map of Finland.   “This is the site of one of the first alien landings on earth. Over two thousand years ago, fishmen landed and settled there.” Justin pulled out his fishmen drawings. He was rather proud of them.

“Justin, I’m not sure where you got your information, but humans live in Finland, not fishmen,” Mr. Armstrong said.

“Oh, I’m sure that some do, but it’s mostly fishmen,” Justin said. “They’re not exactly trying to hide it. It’s in the name. They wear disguises so that they blend in, but I believe that they’re proud of their heritage, and that’s why they named their country Finland.”

“Justin, I don’t think this is correct. Did you look up your country in an encyclopedia?” Mr. Armstrong said.

“Of course I did.   Then I had to account for human bias.   Did you know that some people refuse to believe that Abraham Lincoln was really in contact with Alpha Centauri?”   Justin laughed.

“All right,” Mr. Armstrong said. “Why don’t you go ahead and finish your report.”

Justin smiled.   “Great. So, the fishmen had the same troubles on earth that they did on their home planet. The rival fishmen in Sweden conquered them in the 12th century, and then the humans came in from the west in the 1800s. They won their freedom again about a hundred years ago.”

“So there are fishmen in Sweden?” Mr. Armstrong asked.

“Of course there are,” Justin said. “Haven’t you heard of Swedish Fish? In fact, I have some to hand out to the class now.” The class cheered as Justin handed out the small packets of candy.   “Of course, it’s mostly narwhals in Norway. They’re more peaceful.”

Justin unrolled his timeline. “I’ve projected their future expansion when Russia and Canada get flooded due to global warming and have to be evacuated. There is some concern that the fishmen are causing climate change in an attempt to terraform the earth to their preferences. They are able to think long-term like that, and now that they are willing to work with the fishmen in Sweden, future generations of humans may see a global Finnish Empire.”

Justin displayed the flag he’d drawn and a poster with the words to Finland’s national anthem.   “To prepare for this almost inevitable future, it would be a good idea to remember this flag and anthem to make the transition easier. I’ll hum the tune and then we can all sing it together.”

After the class finished singing the anthem and then sang it again as an encore, Justin asked if there were any questions. Every hand in class shot up.

Mr. Armstrong came to the front of the class and stood next to Justin. “Class, this has been a unique and interesting presentation.   But, in order to have more time for the other presentations, I think we’ll have to stop here. Thank you, Justin.”

Justin smiled as the class clapped enthusiastically and then gathered his posters. “Now, about that hall pass…” he said.

“We’ll see,” Mr. Armstrong said.