Thursday, March 21, 2013


When I was in second grade, my teacher gave a quiz on letter writing. I don't remember exactly, but I think there were questions about how you start a letter, how you finish a letter, and probably about the body of the letter.

Maybe I had been out sick right before that day, but somehow, I thought the questions were about the letters of the alphabet rather than those of an epistolary nature, as the teacher intended. So my answers were completely nonsensical. I think she let me retake the quiz later.

Another time, as a graduate student heavily involved in extracurricular activities, I went on a retreat with a student organization. We were doing one of those get-to-know you exercises. We were each supposed to write an answer to this question (paraphrased, I'm sure): "Where do you go to get your head together and gain perspective?"

I wrote down my answer, and then we shared. A male, senior staffperson from the group went first: "I go to the wilds of Montana to fish and be in nature," he said.

I realized immediately that I had understood the question in a completely different way, but, doggedly, I read my answer aloud to the group:

"I go to the women's bathroom on the second floor of the student union, shut myself in a stall, and put my head down on my arms for a few minutes."

Oh, well. It was the truth at that time.

A girl named Hope had a similar problem on a math quiz.

1 comment:

Michael Leddy said...

I must have been out sick the day before too, because when I read your first paragraph, I thought “letters of the alphabet.”