Mrs. Vaughan’s signature is on this. I was apparently some kind of prodigy. Sadly, it took about 60 seconds to think of the word ‘prodigy.’ Safe to say that all went away…
The only thing I recall from this was I was shipped off to a university in grade 6 to compete. I think my team won–seriously. It wasn’t a school versus school thing but think competitive sport for nerds.
That year was possibly the last year I not only excelled but could ‘do’ mathematics.
Once we hit the algebra / geometry stuff, I crashed in a fiery disaster.
It’s important to mention that in the 70s and 80s, kids rarely received certificates. There was no medal ceremony until high school and that was only for the few who ‘lettered.’ I lettered and then ‘pinned’ the 3 other years.
Some kids lettered and never pinned. You literally received (at my school) a LETTER ‘N.’ It stood for our district. The pins were metal bars whose significance was akin to letters but you pinned them onto the N. I never wore the letter and I never showed my pins. I hated high school, although I was popular in an odd way. People loved me or HATED me and by that I mean beat the crap out of me–all boys. No girl had the balls to come at me. Oh, I said no girl had balls…you know what I mean.
ANYHOO at the start of my last year, a group of 5 guys approached and I knew this was another stomping so, I decided FUCK THAT. I was done with trying to ‘not’ be like my family. I knocked the 1st mother fucker out with a left hook to the temple. The others scattered.
No more thumpings. Cool.
I usually used the idea of ‘dont be like family’ as my guide to be a good person and it often worked. I fostered kindness — with a quick and loud temper, which I couldn’t handle and still don’t control well.
I don’t, however, make it my aim to get power over others at any cost. It’s just not me.
Some of the 3 people who read this will know that I work in a prison. I have upon many occasions been told or heard offenders state, ‘don’t take her kindness for weakness.’ I think that’s true.
It was also put to me as a seemingly sincere apology by an offender who was fired from his job for me and locked down. At no point was I angry and not really disappointed, either, except that I had to find another dependable (loosely speaking, given the circumstances) worker.
How did I go from math to this? Well, it does occur to me that working within corrections, we’re constantly working with variables. There are percentages and that relates to sentences and calculations so fast that nobody I know can truly break down the sense of an individual’s score. There’s a lot that goes into it and we plug in answers that are then all mixed in together, running algorithms that generate recidivism forecasts and blah blah blah.
I still don’t like numbers but here I am, still using them daily. The closest you get to merit is seeing somebody released who never returns.