Math Problems

To this day, I still feel guilty about some drama I caused in the 3rd grade.

3rd grade was the first year we switched teachers for math. Even at 8 or 9, you have a sense of which kids are "smarter" than the others, and it was hard to ignore the fact that I was in a class with most of them. Then when I realized we learning times tables well before any of the other classes, I thought, hmmm, this surely isn't as "random" as they want us to believe.

I figured if there was a high math class, then surely there was a low math class as well. I estimated the intelligence of the kids in the other three classes and ranked them accordingly. I was pretty sure my homeroom teacher had the dumb math class, not only since there were a couple obvious idiots in attendance, but because she would have me grade her students' math homework when I finished other assignments early.

Formulating these opinions about how less intelligent other people were made me a conceited shit, for sure. What made me a real troublemaking shit, however, was not keeping these thoughts to myself. I wanted to share our brilliance with the other people in our class, so I told them that we were in the smart math group. Then, to make some other people feel better, I matter-of-factly pointed out that they were in the 2nd highest math group. Still other kids got hurt by that, and I'd say "At least you're not in the low math group!" My class rankings became common gossip and soon everyone knew where they "stood." As you can imagine, the kids in the lowest class were teased a lot and I'm sure they lost confidence in their subtraction skills.

It got so bad that the teachers had to sit us down to talk about math class rankings. As they explained, the classes were all equal to each other and there was no low class. Apparently, those rankings that I concocted based on stereotyping weren't accurate after all. I was mortified that I was wrong and made people feel dumb (which I probably should have seen coming since I literally labeled them dumb) and didn't think it could get any worse…

Except that it did get worse when the teachers acknowledged that though there was no dumb class, there was a higher math class… and it was my class. As boastful as I was about it a week prior, let me assure you, my guilty conscience could not handle getting to be one of the "smart" ones after stirring up all this shit. I didn't feel like I deserved it.

I never got in trouble for this since the rumor was never traced back to me, but I can assure you that the math deities did get their revenge on me by high school when I couldn't figure out Calculus for the life of me and had to handwrite a plea on my final to "Please give me a C- or I won't be able to go to college." That was definitely a really proud moment for this self-proclaimed math wiz.

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