Friday, March 5, 2010
When I was little, and before I learned to write, I used to scribble on paper instead – to make it look like writing. I would “sign documents” beside a clumsy red X, and I’d pick up my “receipt” after grocery shopping. All of these things were things I eventually started doing in reality, and now that I’m an adult, I don’t think about them nearly at all.
But then, yesterday, I got to do something that I used to pretend to do: I marked a math test.
I was sitting down at the table right as this realization was settling its way into my brain, and by the time I was in my chair I was involuntarily (but excitedly) offering to help. Natasha gave me a red pen and I went through the stack in front of me, adding up the checkmarks on page 1 of each test. As I came across each “23/23”, I felt a little twinge of envy; as I came across each “10/23”, I felt a wave of sympathy. “Maybe he’s good at English” I would tell myself. Poor kid. I was never very good at math either, and in my elementary school days I used to dream about one day being so good at math that I got to be the one to put the big red X’s on the page.
I graduated highschool math with no less difficulty than I had passed through math every other year, and I am by no means any better at math now than I was when I graduated highschool (in fact, I believe I am worse!). But yesterday I got to mark a math test! Like scribbling lines on a page or writing fake signatures, marking “tests” was something I used to pretend to do as well. I would write the “test” in one color pen, and then get out a red pen and mark it with the pride and surety I had seen on my teacher’s faces at school.