Avoid mediocrity, at all costs
There I was in fourth grade math, trying my hardest to concentrate on the numbers when they danced straight off my page and began doing an elaborate production to the tune of “My Favorite Things.”
It wasn’t until drool began to roll off of my lip and onto my paper that I realized I had once again been neglecting this sick pastime my teacher liked to call long division.
Right on cue, a dry erase marker landed on the work sheet.
“Jon, get out of space and do your math!”
Wow, she just ruined a perfect kick line of divisors…
She was at it again – it was one of her days. I knew I should have grabbed some extra ketchup packets to fake a bloody nose.
Instead, there I sat in the fourth grade. “It’s a Hard Knock Life” began to play on my iPod of a brain while I practiced my cursive B’s.
For some reason the capital B had become my favorite letter that year, I think my teacher did a wonderful job of inspiring me to chose that particular letter.
She began correcting all of my classmates until she slowly inched her way to me. I remember looking up at her through my glasses only to see her staring back at me with a devilish grin.
“See me after school,” she hissed, while her pupils dilated to slits, like a snake’s.
I began imagining myself in a safe place, but the only thing that would come to me was the scent of a leather coat.
“Mr. Marquez, you need to plan on staying after school for extra help on your handwriting” were the words that sent me over the edge.
Tears began to slowly trickle down my face, and then I came to a horrifying realization – I had to miss watching “Days of our Lives” for this stupid handwriting club!
“It’s okay, Jon. It’s hard when you realize that you’re just average.”
My whole world shattered with my teacher’s cruel words. I had never been called average.
What was average? It sounded like nothing I’d ever be okay with.
I sat dotting all of my I’s with my tears in handwriting club. Four o’clock finally rolled around and I began the three block trek to Grandma Peggy’s, still crying hysterically.
I breathed in the autumn air on my way home and my feet crunched through the leaves, occasionally landing on bits of ice left over from yesterday’s snow.
It was beginning to get dark, and I knew that before long Mom would be coming to pick me up. I sat watching the news with Grandma Peggy waiting and anticipating the smell.
I heard the car pull in the drive. The door clanked shut and I could hear high heels dancing across the porch outside.
The door opened and in walked my mom. Before she could even say hello, I found myself buried in her black leather coat.
I looked up with tears in my eyes. “Mom, I love you!”
She looked back down at me through her beautiful blue eyes. “I love you too!”
With that, I understood that I wasn’t that awful word that even more awful lady called me.
I wasn’t average, I was loved.