Sunday, March 23, 2008


I'm visiting my parents this week. Whilst in my father's study, I noticed a large accordion file marked with my name. Naturally, I indulged my curiosity and discovered an archive of report cards and brushes with the law covering my school years through about 1992.

Surprisingly to me, I was a strong academic until seventh grade. During sixth grade, I was under the impression that I was doing quite poorly (the public school teachers were relentlessly negative psychos), when in fact, my report card was nearly straight A's.

And then I went to Gilman School in 1985, and despite having grades that would put me in the top third of a college class, the comments are a round denunciation of my efforts, attitude and results.

What happened? Well, when I was 12 I took the SAT, and I scored in the 96th percentile of 12th graders, and that made me special. So, I had to be challenged. And to challenge me, I was enrolled in Gilman School, a prestigious prep in Baltimore. I didn't want to go.

One fucker by the name of R. Smith snidely commented that the majority of my science grade derived from lab work conducted in class "and supposedly at home." Seriously, where does that asshole get off making snide insinuations instead of coming out and telling my parents I wasn't doing homework? And some asshole shop teacher railed -- railed! -- about my poor drafting ability. He implied was retarded. Well, let me imply that Mister Braun was a child molester. And also, I've never used drafting since. My entire life has been a battle against fuckers like them.

A noticeable omission from the teacher comments was any sense that my social dislocation was in any way responsible for my poor grades. You'd think that teachers who gave half a shit might -- might -- suspect that a transfer student was having trouble related to the transfer -- especially the pressure-cooker environment surrounded by contemptuous rich assholes who dressed ridiculously like cops in Miami Vice. But nope, no empathy at all. I was just a wise-ass with bad handwriting who never did homework.

Naturally this record doesn't include my high school and collegiate glory years, during which I achieved near-perfect grades. I had learned by high chool to intercept report cards, and I guess my parents had given up by th time I made honor roll at 19. It'd be nice if my permanent record wasn't simply a document of failure and disappointment. I feel like shit for having read it.

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