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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