Breaking the seal

I was thinking about 17-down after cluing it this week and reflecting on how little I ever learned about drawing throughout my entire time in school. Every now and then I try to draw a person or a tree (either as a doodle or, god forbid, in order to show someone something) and I honestly think that the product is usually indistinguishable from what I would have produced in kindergarten — maybe even worse, because I had more imagination back then. The amazing thing is, I have a whole folder full of papers I scratched on in, like, first grade, somewhere in my room. Why do we bother keeping this stuff? 

Don't get me wrong — I'm all for fostering creativity in schools. But students are allowed to give up on things like instrumental music, theater and other hands-on pursuits as early as fifth and sixth grade. Why did Mrs. Olsen have to keep scolding me with "Buzz, buzz, buzz" as I somehow drew a diagonal line on the whiteboard, in her eyes, the "wrong way" year after year?

These are NOT unresolved issues that I'm working out for the first time on my crossword blog, and for the record, creating visual puzzles as a hobby now is NOT a desperate attempt to claw back my self-worth.

Speaking of which, this week's theme is admittedly inconsistent and frankly awful, but I came up with it on a lark last week and, from then on, it had to happen. I hope the facepalm you're going to do a couple minutes from now feels great.