Sunday, November 11, 2012

Example Number 179 of How the Universe Conspires Against Val

Before Genius sent me to the dead-mouse-smelling post office with his $48,000 envelope, he had to write an editorial essay to include with his scholarship application.

With the efficiency of a NASA flight control technician completing a checklist prior to launch, Genius gathered all materials for his packet, and left it with his recommendation-writer. They go way back, she being an upper-level mathematics instructor with the claim to fame of shaking Wernher von Braun's hand in her childhood. She was supposed to seal her recommendation in a separate envelope, then pass the packet on to the last person, the official-transcript-adder. And herein lies today's tale: Example Number 179 of How the Universe Conspires Against Val.

For anonymity purposes, we shall call the recommendation-writer Julia. As in Sugarbaker. For reasons which will become apparent a bit farther down the page. The official-transcript-adder shall be known as OTA. Try to keep up.

Julia schlepped the ever-fattening packet up the long hall to OTA's office. She proudly, and with a flourish, I imagine, presented the pile of documents to OTA. Julia is a staunch supporter of Genius, declaring him to be, if not one-in-a-million, at least one-in-five-in-her-career. As in the top echelon of students she has had the pleasure of teaching in her thirty-some-odd years of education.

OTA inspected the scholarship instructions. Not because she didn't trust Genius and Julia to be thorough, but because it's kind of her job. Like a quality control inspector, rather than the last worker on the assembly line. She thumbed her way through the stack of documents. "Essay? Has somebody proofread this for him?"

Julia nodded. "His mother checked it over last night."

OTA raised her eyebrows. "His mother? Why did he have his mother look at it instead of his honors English teacher? Or me?"

Julia drew herself up to maximum height, in order to look down her nose at OTA. "His mother is an accomplished writer. She writes every day. She has received an offer of publication. She has won several writing contests. I'm not positive, but I believe she's writing a book. AND, she was valedictorian of her high school class. So I would think that her proofreading would be sufficient."

OTA blinked. "Well. I nod and speak to her in the hall when I walk by. But I had no idea she was so accomplished. I'm sure his essay will be fine."

I know all of this, because Julia ran straight to my classroom to inform me. I'm pretty sure flames were still shooting from her nostrils. We share a prep hour. They're not really for prepping lessons, you know. They're for gossiping. Julia is also a staunch supporter of me. She wanted me to know that she has my back. Any place. Any time. Whenever somebody disparages my intellectual capabilities.

I bear OTA no ill will. She is merely one of many who judge this book by its cover. I am like Chris Farley's Bennett Brauer character with finger-quotes at SNL's Weekend Update desk. Maybe I'm not "conventionally pretty" or "smart-looking" or "well-spoken" or "one of the popular crowd" or "dressed for success" or "able to not blend in with the woodwork" or...well...OTA is not the first person to underestimate Val Thevictorian.

Let the record show that we are a small school district. One long hallway is the extent of our building. No multi-acre campus. One. Building. Three teachers per academic department. I have been with this district since the year The Pony was born. You'd think I might be more than a one-dimensional character. Like one of those stick drawings on the back windshield of a Ford pickup, a wild-haired little boy peeing on a Chevy emblem. At least I did not receive the Dean Wormer speech: "Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son." That's because I am not a drunk. And not a son.

Apparently, the universe has other plans for Val. Plans which do not yet include respect from her peers.

Because Karma has been teething on my posterior recently, I fully expect a plethora of typos to escape my attention in this post. Showing that I am not quite the grand proofreader that I imagine myself to be. Let the record also show that I know my blog writing is not sentence-structurally correct. It's my style. Not MLA 7.


  1. Everyone needs a friend like Julia. One who will do whatever it takes to look down the nose to defend against an offender of a friend. One who will shoot flames out of said nose at said offense. One who will share stories instead of prepping and one who is a staunch supporter of Genius. Good thing she had your back against number 179.

  2. Julia rocks. You're lucky to have her in your corner, and I suspect she feels the same way about you. You have an obligation now to shoot flames from your nose at the first glimpse of Julia needing a champion. :)

  3. I don't think i qualify as a peer, but I respect you. Feel free to proof my work anytime.

  4. OTA's opinion of you doesn't matter one IOTA. Julia and the rest of us have your back.

  5. So you ARE working on a book? Yipee yahoo!

  6. I would let you proof my writing any day! I have purposely not read all the text in my book as it is in published form, first time I read a chapter, I found an error and it stills eats away at me! I expect errors in the raw form, but somebody should have caught that one!

    Loyal friends are not over-rated!

  7. Leenie,
    I am not worthy of my friend Julia. She is the hot air beneath my bluster. We are kindred spirits. I wish I could shoot flames out my nose as well as she. Out of her OWN nose, of course. We're not THAT close.

    I will need no starter fluid to get me going. I have large reserves of vitriol just waiting for release.

    I think there is no need for that, but I welcome the invitation.

    Now I am extra paranoid, with so many of you behind me. I always sit with my back against the wall, you know. I'm sure you will use your powers for good, not evil.

    I have no shortage of material. I need a unifying theme. It is stalled at the moment, due to lack of focus on my part.

    I cringe when I read over my old blog posts, and see the errors. I am lackadaisical about my posts. When Genius reads them, he mocks my errors. Mainly in the form of "you" for "your".