December 16, 2008
By Amelia Penniman, Essex, CT

It’s 10:23 in the library. A boy who confessed his love for a girl to me a month ago is tickling her by the computers. She has a boyfriend. The band is playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” across the hall. Through the enormous windows of the Round Room, nine panes in each, I note, the sports fields are wet and gray. It’s 10:24. 10:24 AM on December 16, 2008. I wonder if that has any significance. 10 24 12 16 equals 62. Nope. None whatsoever. I think I’m probably a raving lunatic, as exactly four minutes ago, now, I was perusing shopbop.com’s collection of dresses I can’t afford, and a thought came to me. Not just a thought, mind you, more of a realization. I had just considered checking my grades online when I came to the conclusion that, if I were graded in life, my GPA would most likely be abysmal. I make a list of potential grading factors in my head. School, first of all would probably be an 85-ish. My grades are stellar enough, but I have possibly the worst work ethic in the world, and a tendency to get distracted by, say, shopbop.com. Then I give myself a 71 because school came to my mind first. That shouldn’t happen with a sixteen year old girl the week before winter break. I wonder if maybe it should, and give myself a 73 just for wondering. Next, the other biggest factor in my life. Family? I guess. 89 for that. I’ve been fighting with my mom lately. Work, then; 82. I used to deposit my paychecks, now I keep them for “emergencies,” like the plane ticket I bought the other day to visit my friend in North Carolina. Social life at home: 75. My friends aggravate me too much. Social life other: 76. Other? Other pertains to friends from my summer program in Oxford, whom I like much better than the majority of my home friends. 65 just for that. I should probably be more grateful. Mental state. Hmm. Seeing as how this is completely, staggeringly neurotic; 54. I do worry too much. About college (not for a year), about boys (too many), about money (I need more), about the fact that four different groups of people called me to hang out on Saturday and I chose to stay home and watch “The Chronicles of Narnia.” 58. That’s pathetic. There are, undoubtedly, countless other factors. I give myself a 76 for the fact that I’m supposed to be studying French right now, then a 98 for my outfit, just to balance it all out. The grand average (unweighted, of course) is a 75. Jesus Christ. 75? It can’t be. I’m dumbfounded, not because 75 is terrible for me, but because it is, in fact, the ideal “average” for a student. C. A C in life. Fantastic. I am entirely normal, and I hate it. On December 5, I listened to a talk by a man who had grown up beaten by his father every night. Eventually he ran away and became homeless. I’m still not quite sure how that all connects, but he seemed to stress that “good,” or “average” should never be the stopping point. Because of his words, I am not happy with my Life GPA of C. I make a promise to myself to strive for something better, a B, maybe. That man’s angry face appears in my head. Okay, not B. I’ll go for the big one. A . 100 in life. That actually sounds pretty good. The band across the hall begins to play “Good King Wenceslas.” 100 in life. Never stop trying for something better. A . Now, I’ll start with my French.

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