Confucius Disobeys His Tiger Mom

Confucius is writing in his bedroom.

CONFUCIUS (to himself): Let’s see, what about wording it this way…it does not matter how slow you go as long as you —

Someone knocks on the door.

MOM: Confucius, are you studying for the SAT?

Confucius rolls his eyes.

CONFUCIUS: No, I’m working on my poetry.

His mother enters.

MOM: Why aren’t you studying for the SAT? Do you want to be homeless?

CONFUCIUS: Not this again.

MOM: Poetry will make you homeless.

CONFUCIUS: Mom, I know that already. Just leave me alone.

Mrs. Qiu yanks away the paper.

MOM (reads aloud): “It does not matter how slow you go as long as you — “. What do you think you’re doing, writing for the Hallmark Channel?

CONFUCIUS: Hey, I’m not a sell out. It’s for an open mic I’m doing next Thursday in Shanghai.

MOM: Open mics won’t help you get in to Harvard or become a doctor.

CONFUCIUS (stammering): What if I don’t want to go to Harvard?

The temperature suddenly dips.

MOM: What did you just say?

Confucius sees Jeremy Lin’s basketball jersey in his closet. His confidence is restored.

CONFUCIUS: Yeah, you heard me.

MOM: Don’t argue with me.

CONFUCIUS: You know, there’s more to life than college. Like meditation, tea ceremonies, and growing really long beards.

MOM: Those things won’t bring you success. Your dad and I didn’t work hard just so you can grow a long beard.

CONFUCIUS: You don’t get it.

MOM: What don’t I get?

CONFUCIUS: Never mind, it’s a generation gap sort of thing.

MOM: Why do you want to become a philosopher when you could instead become a doctor and bring your family honor?

CONFUCIUS: Because that’s what I actually enjoy doing.

MOM: I don’t understand. There is no enjoyment in life.

CONFUCIUS: Maybe you should read my writing then.

MOM: Only if it’s your application essay to Harvard.

CONFUCIUS: You know what, I’ve had it. I’m not going.

Mrs. Qiu grabs a wooden yardstick.

CONFUCIUS (cont’d): No, I didn’t mean it! I was just joking!

MOM: It didn’t sound like it.

CONFUCIUS: I will apply to college, I promise!

Mrs. Qiu drops her guard.

MOM: Fine. But not one more word about this whole poetry thing. We’re not like Kyle’s parents.

CONFUCIUS: Now can you stop helicoptering over me?

There is an uncomfortable silence.

MOM: You have piano lessons with Ms. Vladironsky in thirty minutes.

Mrs. Qiu leaves the room.

CONFUCIUS (to himself): At least I’m appreciated by Sun Tzu and Lao Tzu.

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