Search Me

I was a word search wiz as a kid. There wasn't a word you could hide in a letter-littered grid that I couldn't find. The mild dyslexia probably helped that... unless the word searches are actually what helped bring the dyslexia on, but I'm not yet prepared to think about that. My aunt and I used to have competitions where we'd work on the same puzzle simultaneously with different colored pens to see who found the most words once it was done. In second grade, I loved word searches enough to make my own in the shape of a teepee using words from our Native American unit which my teacher xeroxed and distributed to the whole class.

My word searching abilities peaked in third grade. One day, my class had a substitute teacher who gave us a word search to complete toward the end of the day. Since she probably realized it was a bullshit activity, she allowed everyone to work on it together, but this struck me as an awful idea. I knew that plenty of my peers wouldn't take the puzzle seriously and chat instead of actually looking for the words. I'd be damned if some slacker contributed one horizontal and forward word that was in plain sight while I handed him all the diagonally backward words! I asked the substitute whether she would permit me to do the word search by myself. When she wanted to know why, I responded that I could do it faster myself. Provoked by my claim, she suggested a competition: the other twenty kids in the class versus me.

This could be a good story of how Kevin acquired humility, but instead this is a story of how awesome Kevin is. I creamed the combined efforts of my twenty classmates, finishing well before them. They lost a lot of time in having to point out the words to each other -- suckers! I had successfully rushed my way through an activity that was meant to waste time. I'm not sure what I had to do while I waited - probably read a Boxcar Children book to myself while the other children socialized. But I was the winner here.

I expected that the substitute would mention my impressive feat in her notes for the next day, but my regular teacher didn't ever acknowledge it. No one did, in fact. It's as if the other kids didn't even care that I was so much more awesome than them at word searches. I'm still not sure why I was never commended for my talents, but I will accept belated accolades now, however.

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