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Thursday, January 29, 2004

A Testament

Having my hand burned has given me a lot of insight. It's given me a great deal of time to reflect on the harsh reality in which we live, where the unexpected mortality of man mocks us from on high, like a jaguar in the subtle, shadowy fringes of our animal minds. Also, it's let me watch an inexorable amount of daytime ESPN.

One of the things it's done is make me reconsider my stance towards going to class. Having now gotten two B+'s for spurious attendance, I realize that starting off my year by skipping the first week (three out of four days were, to my mind, justified by either the weather or having other pressing matters to which I needed attend) was a questionable decision. So I've resolved now: I am going to go to every class this semester, or at least for as long as I can stand. Starting monday, I will go, come hell or high water.

This seems like a rather laughable claim for me to make. I have, of course, missed more days of school at every level than anyone I know, excepting cases of actual illness or something. Many people say this and mean that they missed a couple weeks. I missed over a year of high school. This is including the fact that we were not allowed, in Texas, to miss over three days per semester (I used all three, all three semesters.) I failed study hall. That's not even hyperbole - the only class I actively failed in high school (let's not talk about the "basically failed" ones) was the one where I had to show up and sleep. I spent such a large percentage of my childhood not at class while well, I am forced to wonder if maybe I would be further in the rat race than I am at the moment if I had actually bothered to show up.

Of course, given the effort I put in when I did show up, this seems unlikely. I read one-hundred pages for every homework assignment I completed. In eighth grade, the second half of the year I was finally forced to do the homework (I was forced to stay in during recess if I hadn't done my homework) and pulled good enough grades for them to place me in honors classes in high school. Of course, two weeks in, I stopped going. And then my absence streak takes over.

I've stopped to consider, recently, a lot of the things I've done and realized I have done very little which I can be proud of becuase of the genuine effort I put in, unless I wanted to do it on my own. Hubris aside, a majority of the things I was successful at were purely on natural ability. I was an all-state lacrosse player, not becuase I spent endless hours practicing, but becuase I simply was better than the other people. When I was told I finally had to put in an effort to learn to shoot left-handed, I switched to the right side to avoid it. Same with anything at all academic. And while on one level, that presents its own set of challenges, it just seems as if I should at least prove to myself I can accomplish it.

Let's see how long this lasts.

cranked out at 3:00 PM | |

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