I flunked pre-algebra so they had me retake it in summer school and gave me a D Minus even though I’d flunked it again. It must have a requirement for graduation or something. And I was a likeable kid. It was the only summer school class I ever had, and certainly the only time I ever took a class with all the other summer dumbfucks. And I was the dumbest of the dumbfucks in that class. The only one who flunked, or should have. Not that it bothered me any. All those letters where numbers should be.
Then we moved across town to another high school in another school district and I seem to remember having to take algebra and flunking it there too. Utterly mystified by all the letters where numbers should have been. It made no sense to me whatsoever. All my friends were acing calculus and trig and I couldn’t even spell hypotnoose. Still can’t. I do remember being called to a counselor’s office and asked if I had a problem with the algebra teacher. I said no, I thought the teacher was really cool. So you just don’t like math? I guess not. That ended my mathematics career. I’m great at simple arithmetic, but am the stupidest person I know at mathematics. I can’t do a single thing beyond addition, etc. Not thing even percentages. I cheat and divide by tenths and then hundreds and add them up. I’m a whiz at addition. But start mixing letters and numbers and it might as well be in cuneiform. Though I could probably figure out some cuneiform. It would make sense. Except for the goddam Babylonian algebra. It’s their fault. They invented it.
Apart from math classes I got mostly A’s and a few B’s in school. I figured out back in junior high that you didn’t have to study much if at all to ace an essay test. Teachers love pretty writing. So I wrote as much as possible in school. Wrote and watched the girls. High school was a breeze as long as I stayed clear of the math department.
A couple years ago I was digging through a box of some mementos my mother had left with me before she died and came across a certificate with my name on it. Apparently I graduated summa cum laude in English. I didn’t remember that at all. But then I remember very little of high school. The certificate looked a little goofy with its Greek words and swirls. Embarrassing. So that’s what summa cum laude means, I thought, and put it back in the box.