I use this term a lot. People either get it and laugh, or look at me funny and ask, "What the hell is gradual school?"
One of my favorite books of all time is John Irving's The World According to Garp, which was made into a wonderful film by George Roy Hill, with Robin Williams as T. S. Garp. This scene between Garp and his five-year-old son Walt appeared in the film version but, as I recall, not in the book:
WALT: Dad, what's gradual school?
GARP: Gradual school?
WALT: Yeah, Mommy said that she teaches kids who go to gradual school.
GARP: Oh! Well, gradual school is where kids go and then gradually realize that they don't want to go to school anymore ....
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Chuck Taggart (e-mail chuck)