One of my very earliest memories is of hearing that dirty little seven-letter word uttered.
My mother was talking to my sister, who miserably poured over a book, which they both looked at with contempt.
My sister was in high school at the time, and, as a very small child, I was amazed that she could read books that big and not enjoy them; after all, my smaller books were about Dick and Jane and Baby Sally and Spot all playing at the park with Kitty in a red wagon, or "A picnic! A picnic! Who wants a picnic?", with accompanying song.
The foreign word continued to crop up in their conversation as I went up behind my sister to look over her shoulder at this abominable book. It was flipped open to the oddest assortment of pictures and words I had ever seen. I vowed to stay as far away from that as I could.
Though I heard "The Word" quite often, I was rather desensitized to it by the time I started my education at home. Sure, I knew "The Word" implied horrible things, which had begun to frighten me when spoken of; I wasn't quite sure of the full extent of "The Word"'s meaning, but it couldn't have been good, whatever it was.
As I worked through my lessons at home, and continued to live with "The Word", it finally dawned on me that I was never going to escape it, and that, one day, I would have to face the same battle my sister had trudged ahead with for so long... I believe I was about nine years old when I first made this astonishing discovery, and ever since then, I have fretted when my time would come.
As I grew, "The Word" was just as present, though I was resigned to it by then; that didn't mean I wasn't dreading the inevitable struggle, only that I must prepare myself for battle (and let me tell you, bootcamp was hell), keep my chin up, and not complain about it.
Just as my sister had done, I put it off, and put it off, dreading what awaited me; and, just as always, the time came for me to face the music.
The war was on.
It started off with a bang, from the ground floor, the dead basics; I worked my way through the ranks quickly, taking great pride in my victories, and wallowing in my defeats tirelessly throughout the last year. Be that as it may, I have finally conquered the fear, and can stand in the light of dawn, proudly holding two fingers aloft.
I finally passed algebra.
On the first try.
I don't even understand this. I can't tell you what any of that means.
Take that, public education system!
I say this purely because the only thing that kept me out of the Gifted and Talented club in public school was math. True story.
I'll bet the three kids I knew from G&T couldn't pass algebra to save their hides, though (and they're only just getting the chance, what with they've only just graduated high school and all... see what "Gifted and Talented" gets you? You still have it all ahead of you, you little tit-monkeys!)
It was always a little awkward to have the kids from Gifted and Talented ask me what certain words were in their textbooks, or how to spell a word, yet publicly have lower speed-math scores than the other twenty-nine children in the room. When the other kids would ask me why I never went with the Gifted and Talented group on their "special field trips", I would tell them that I was too cool for that, and, anyway, I was the only kid the teachers trusted to take the Ritalin bags to the principal's office every day (true story... seven years old, running drugs for the school).
I wish them lots of luck, though. They might be better with numbers than I was, but while they've been stuck in their precious institutions of learning for the better part of ten years, I've been out there living my life. And I'd bet I could still out-spell 'em.
That being said, my life has been on hold for the last year; during the last fifty-two weeks, I have not...:
*drawn in my sketchbook (yes, you read that right... I'm not just a mediocre face!)
*gone on all-night writing binges (which, by the way, are one of my favorite things to do in the whole world)
*cleaned out my closets (and it shows)
*re-read any of my previous Wordpad drafts ('cause you can never be completely happy with whatever drivel comes out of your brainbox)
*finished half of the books I've started on off-weekends
*or, in general, done anything falling into the category of "fun" besides going to see Paul.
And I can tell you, it's done my head in.
I have been told that I turn into the Supreme Super-Bitch when I do algebra, so I'll be back to my effervescent self in no time!
Now that algebra may officially be spoken of by me in the past tense, I plan on doing all of what I listed up there, AND MORE.
It's been too long, enough is enough. I have decided to take my life back, and claim it as my own again.
It's pretty bad when you start to get envious of the people in those stupid Scientology advertisements...
Damn people, out living their lives! Bastards!
As an aside, my mother thinks I should sell my algebra books back to the library... I'm thinking that a ceremonial burning is in order. Too drastic?
My mother and I were talking recently about the joys of being finished with this immeasurable evil, and how I shall never have to deal with it as long as I live ever-again-ever.
After a moment's thought, she said to me, "you will when you have kids of your own".
"I'll just tell them the same thing everyone always told me: 'Gee, kid, I don't know.'"
We shall be celebrating with sparkling apple juice, and an iTunes buying spree!
Ricky The K's Solid Gold Time Machine
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