January 24, 2011
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“A seventeen? Really, Ben? Seventeen?”

I sighed as I walked to my next class with Rachel, the only hot girl on math team and my ever superior girlfriend. She didn’t get what it’s like contemplating moving to some country where my two and a half years of high school experience could make me rich instead of continuing to drown in the figure-filled literary travesty that was my Geometry textbook.

“It was hard,” I muttered defensively.

“It was multiple choice! I got a hundred and four. The bonus question was way too easy.”

“I didn’t attempt it.” Obviously. “I don’t get it.”

She just shrugged. “Maybe if you paid attention instead of spending all class period in those stupid girl novels.”

I had to find out if Sookie rescued Bill from the werewolves, goddammit. “Stop giving True Blood a gender. Literature’s unisex, you know.”


What skill of conversation you have! Your mastery of the English language renders me speechless!

This is why an English Person and a Math Person shouldn’t date.

“I still can’t believe you got a seventeen!” She laughed.

Desperate to change the subject from my math grade (which happened to be plummeting lower and with greater velocity than a snowball rolling down a hill in a bad Christmas movie), I brought up the one little part of my day that kept me from flying off to a little island and becoming supreme dictator of some indigenous tribe—oh, beloved English class.

“Did you get through Franny and Zooey?” I asked casually. We were doing a whole Salinger section for English this month—it’s like heaven and nirvana and chocolate cake all wrapped up in one delicious spiritually fulfilling ball of joy.

Yeah, Salinger’s one of my favorites.

“Sparknoted it.” She shrugged.

What h*** is wrong with you?

Calm, buddy. Calm.

“Didn’t have time last night?” Sound understanding.

“Nah, I barely had anything last night. Finished Geometry in like two seconds.”

“Then why didn’t you read it?”

“Cause it sucks,” she mumbled casually.

I should break up with you right now.

“Oh. Sorry you don’t like it.”

English went by all too quickly, as it always did for me. Today we touched upon the significance of repetition within Salinger’s works. A heavenly conversation.

Which was completely ruined by the conversation between me and Mr. James, my math teacher (and possibly the antichrist), right after class.

I was walking unawares, minding my own business on the way to mi clase de espanol, when the mathematical tyrant tapped me on the shoulder from behind like some sort of chain saw killer. I had to restrain myself from screaming louder than the beautiful and delightfully ignorant heroin in Saw VI.

“Mr. James, hi,” I managed shakily.

“Ben, you got a seventeen on the chapter four test.” He gave me a stern look. “That means you come to my afterschool tutoring session every Thursday. Starting today.”

“I’ll be there,” I told him dejectedly, wishing my brain was wired with a calculator in it like Rachel’s.

“Good. Oh,” he called as he began to walk away, “I made a special group of you kids for my Thursday session. I think it’ll work for you.”

A special group? So basically, you found it fitting to put me in with the creepy degenerates that have been here since the 80s. Thanks Mr. James, love you too.

Spanish, which usually seems like several eternities of verb conjugations, went by muy rapido today, since I was dreading its end. The end of Spanish class meant the beginning of my tutoring lab with James. Torturous.

As tempting as it was to loiter by my locker waiting for Rachel or to stop at a vending machine for my daily Gatorade fix, I figured walking in late to the session would only make it that much worse; so, like the good little student I am, I went straight from Spanish to the second floor of Building A—the Math Floor. I shuddered.

I walked into Mr. Jame’s room, my eyes meeting the depressing sign above his desk proclaiming “If you’re bad at math, then 2n + 2n is 4n to you!” The epitome of hilarity right there.

But to my pleasant surprise, the classroom was not filled with sad middle aged men and women trying to understand imaginary numbers. Actually, I was friends with most of the kids in the class. The president of the Creative Writing Club, winner of last year’s History Fair, and a few members I knew from English Honor Society.

As I sat down next to the guy that got first place for his sonnet last year, Mr. James walked in. “Hello, everyone,” he greeted us. “We’ve got a newbie with us today; But I’m sure everybody knows Ben already, right?” I looked around the classroom. I actually was pretty familiar with most of them from clubs and classes and stuff.

“Good,” he continued. “Now I know we’ve got a test coming up next week, so let’s go ahead and start reviewing. But first,” he said, looking at me, “let’s give Ben a gist on how this class is going to work. Who can tell me how many years it took to build the Neuschwanstein Castle?”

“Seventeen,” replied Jade Miller, the girl with the highest grade in my APUSH class.

“Good, Jade. Coincidentally, a seventeen is also what Ben received on our last math test.”

I sighed. For all the teachers that think embarrassment is motivation for us, it really isn’t. We just hate you more now.

“Ben,” he continued, “if you hadn’t noticed already, I put you in this class for a reason. You’re brilliant. All of you are. But unfortunately, your brilliance is strictly confined to one subject—English in your case, Ben. All we have to do now is translate your talents from what you know to what you don’t. Create a bridge between English, history, creative writing, to math.”

“I’m not sure I follow.”

He silently turned from me to the whiteboard behind and wrote in orange dry-erase marker: “Why is a rhombus like a writing desk?”

And for the next hour, he explained why.

And I learned what a rhombus was.

And maybe I wouldn’t have to flee the country after all.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Texas_Horsegirl said...
Sept. 10, 2011 at 10:22 pm
Did this really happen? I love trueblood!
datrumpeter said...
Jan. 26, 2011 at 7:18 pm
this is really good writing, i laughed at the end. Could you check out some of my work, and rate or comment? thanks!
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