Charlie

I dated a Charlie briefly. Well, dated in the way middle school kids do. We were “going out” but I don’t think we ever actually went anywhere. We probably never kissed either.

As I enter middle age, I’ve been thinking a lot about the people I grew up with. Maybe that’s because I see myself growing older while in my mind these people are forever teenagers. Or maybe it’s because we just started a Facebook group for the Alden High School class of 1997 and a lot of them have sent me friend requests. But in either case, I find it slightly bizarre that all these people I spent 40+ hours a week with for 13 years of my life are complete strangers to me now. Continue reading →

Trust

Today’s Topic T is something that I think we’ve all been wrong about at one point or another – who to trust. I can’t speak for men, but for women, or at least myself and every female I’ve ever known, we all fall into the savior/nurse/Cinderella/whateveryouwanttocallit complex sometimes. You know what I’m talking about – the idea that you are the one. You’re going to turn everything around for this person, you are special, you’re the exception, you’re exactly what this person needs and he/she is going to realize it if you just wait around long enough. All the warning signs are there. Your friends try to get you to open your eyes to reality, but you ignore their concerns because they just don’t know this person like you do. You question certain things this person does but always find a way to rationalize them in your own mind so they don’t seem so bad at all. You act a little bit differently around this person, biting your tongue in situations when ordinarily you would say something, but you don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

You probably think I’m talking about romantic interests here. I kind of am because that’s generally when this problem occurs, but the specific story I have in mind for myself is not one of romance but rather just a professional tale. Continue reading →

Math

I spent many a night at the kitchen table in grades 7 through 9 with tears streaming down my face, hating the Babylonians, the Greeks, the Persians and anyone else who had helped develop and expand that detestable field of mathematics known as algebra. I just didn’t get it. Those uninviting 600 page text books with 50-problem homework sets, just a jumble of meaningless letters on the page, the answer key in the back pages taunting me because I had to show all my work to get any credit. The brainiacs working through the problems on the chalkboard in front of the class in mere seconds and then returning to their seats leaving me standing there alone, backside exposed to my classmates, chalk poised and hoping that one of my friends in the front row would whisper to me what to write so I could return to my seat before the teacher talked me through the problem while everyone else tapped their feet and doodled impatiently. Algebra was the worst.

Fortunately for me, I was in accelerated math in grade 8, which clearly I shouldn’t have been, but since I was a straight A student in all other subjects, it was just assumed that I belonged there. Being in accelerated math meant that after grade 9, I could quit math altogether because New York State standards only required two years of high school math. And only three of science, yet four of physical education, oddly enough. So after grade 9, you bet I quit! I also successfully avoid the two-semester requirement of university math by taking a Critical Thinking class (a mix of logic and probability, run by the Philosophy department) and a Basic Stats & Computing class to fulfill that requirement. Somehow those counted as acceptable substitutes and I got an A- in each. Continue reading →

Long-Term Career Goals

I’ve had a lot of professional ambitions in my life that haven’t come to pass, and that’s OK because I’m quite happy where I am right now. But it is amusing to look back and think about what I wanted out of life at different times. Beyond the dreams of every kindergarten child to be a policeman/firefighter/doctor/grocer/banker/any other mammal from Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day?, here, roughly in chronological order, is what I was serious about becoming at one point or another. Continue reading →