Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Beauty school dropout

Here in Virginia it’s Election Day for local elected offices. So I dutifully went to my local polling place to cast my vote. (I’m so grateful that this marks the end of the annoying robocalls—it has been strangely quiet in my house today.)

In front of the local high school where those in my precinct vote, I ran into a woman I used to know from PTA activities when my kids were in elementary school. She kept moving up from PTA president and is now chairman of the county school board. She introduced me to a young man who is her colleague on the school board. The colleague recently moved into my neighborhood, on my street, just a block away. As I drove home I thought it was such good luck to have a neighbor on the school board in case I ever need something done in the county school system.

But then it dawned on me—what would ever cause me to need help from a member of the county school board? My kids are grown and have moved many states away. However, there’s that recurrent nightmare of mine with varying details that has to do with my not graduating from high school. For example, after years of work in both graduate and undergraduate school, I dreamed that I couldn’t get my graduate degree because I flunked a quiz in Mr. Wojick’s geometry class. The graduate program required me to go back and finish high school, then repeat college and grad school. Nothing counted because of that one geometry quiz.

I have to confess that geometry was not my strongest subject. I got almost a perfect zero in one quiz—just one lousy correct answer that was pure luck caused me to get 5 percent. It has been over 50 years since I earned that 5 percent and it still haunts me. However, I must have great intuitive sense when it comes to geometry. We had to take some sort of standardized national geometry exam and I breezed through it with a high score. How could that be? I guessed. I just looked at the measurements—if side A was 18.5 inches and side B was 36 inches, then I guessed that proportionately side C looked like it should be 42 inches. I didn’t waste time doing those tedious Pythagorean things. (It shocks me to know that I just used the word Pythagorean in a sentence. Will wonders ever cease? Next thing you know I'll be swimming laps at the Y.)

Other than the geometry bugaboo, I have found myself trying to graduate wearing only a slip—my dog ate the cap and gown. Many times I have had night terrors about not being able to find my assigned classroom or I had forgotten to go to the class all year and it was time for the final exam. Or maybe that was real life. Hard to tell. Now I’m going to panic. I need to find my diploma to prove that I really am a high school graduate. I don’t think my influential neighbor can help me get my diploma. Not only did I go to high school outside of this county, outside of this state, but my high school went out of business many years ago. The only thing I have is a fading photograph. That’s not proof. Am I going to have to sign up to take a GED exam? Please tell me there’s no geometry on the exam.

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