Thursday, October 22, 2009

No names

In Academia an F means fail. It’s meant to bring shame and despair to the inadequate test taker or paper writer. I’ve lived my life in fear of this end-all. There seemed to be no coming back from a Fail. And I failed. It was a test in Mr. Nozowa’s CP Chemistry class. When he passed the scantron bubble sheets back with the scores printed on the bottom corner, I saw my 49% and became short of breath. With tears welling in my eyes I thought of the colleges I could no longer attend, the look on my parents’ faces, and my ultimate failure as a human being. I looked over at Jesse who sat next to me. He sometimes came to class, sometimes stayed awake, but only to carve offensive phrases in the desk with a compass. I asked how he fared and he held up his scantron. Where my sheet had one penciled-in bubble on each line— my best guess at the right answer, his started with one bubble, centered on top, then three on the next, then five, and so forth until the final result showed the figure of a Christmas Tree. He had added sketches of presents at the bottom and a star and the top. He smiled slyly and there was no doubt in my mind that Jesse was very pleased with himself. His failure was a greater success than an A would have been. I’m not sure where Jesse is now. Last I heard he was publishing poetry. And last I heard he was very happy.


Don't be shy.