(I make no judgements about content. I'm simply purging some of the clutter that's been inside my head since 1983.)
"Why do you think I sat you beside Dianne in the first place?"
~ Ms. Lilly, the student teacher in Accounting class, several months after leaving the school
I was an under-achiever in high school.
I was in the top 3rd of my class, but I could have done much better. My mid-range "B" average was accomplished with almost no direction; I can't recall ever doing homework, studying for an exam or truly challenging myself to perform better in academics. I was content that decent grades just came sort of naturally.
Except for that goddamned Accounting class.
It was my junior year, I think, and I found myself in an Accounting class. The teacher seemed to presume we students had (1) some interest in keeping a financial ledger, and (2) some ability to think like future captains of industry. Maybe some did, I dunno.
But I didn't, and still don't.
Mid-way through the semester, I was struggling. Hard. I didn't understand the most basic aspects of the process and covered up my insecurities by being the class clown. The new student teacher, Ms. Lilly, had enough one day when she called on me to answer a question and I smarted her off.
I didn't know the answer, and she knew it. She saw right through me.
"Come up front, and sit beside Dianne," she said. Dianne Johnson was one of my best friends, and the smartest student in that class. I happily obliged, then cheated off Dianne for the rest of the term. I passed with a less than stellar grade, but I passed.
Months later--well after Ms. Lilly left the school--I ran into her at a basketball game. Ever the smart-ass, I brought up her idea to seat me up front, beside Dianne.
"I cheated on every test we had," I boasted, like a goof.
It was then she made the comment referenced above: "Why do you think I sat you beside Dianne in the first place?"
She knew. It was her plan, all along.
I like to think she saw something in me that lead her to cut me a break. During the conversation she made a couple of comments that suggested as much. I do know that every time--and I mean every time--I balance my checkbook or create a budget at work I think of Ms. Lilly.
And I smile.