Today’s little story is about the first time I ever failed a class. I will never forget this event until the day my Alzheimer’s fully kicks in. Some people go their entire scholastic career without ever tasting this bitter dish. For me it was not until my freshman year of high school. My father was furious, as to be expected. He was always angry about something I did, or did not do. Whatever the case may be, at the end of the day it really did not matter one bit that I failed this class because it was a non-required elective.
The class in question was TYPING. Of course this was still in the 1980’s when most people still did not use computers and the technology was, to put it bluntly, in the Stone Age. The time spent in class was divided into two parts: computers, and typewriters. For those of you who have never used one of these anciently obsolete wonders of technology, they were quite inconvenient to say the least. Unlike a PC keyboard, you needed finger strength when you hit each key. As a matter of fact, you literally had to ‘hit’ the key in order to generate enough force to move the entire mechanism to produce a single letter. If you get fatigued while using your modern keyboard, imaging trying to type with a 200-gram weight tied to each finger. And do not get me started on how to “delete” or fix a mistake! It was more of a torture device than a helpful tool. Also the computers were very different too. This next point is essential to the story at hand. In order to save your file, you needed what is called a floppy disc, or “floppy” as it is colloquially known. These were thin, square shaped pieces of plastic that held a thinner material that the data was stored on. If you play video games you have probably seen one, as they are commonly used as ‘save’ icons.
Moving on with the story. Each student was given one disc to save their documents (for daily practice) on. We would also have to print out each page, which also took too long, to hand in daily as proof of your time spent in class. Anyways, a football (American brand) team mate of mine had forgotten his disc or lost it. Either way he did not have one on that day, so I decided to let him borrow my disc to use in class, because without the disc you were not able to print anything out. He promised me that he would delete the file after he printed it out as to cause no problems. Well, as it turns out, I should not have trusted him to do what he promised. The next week, when it was my group’s turn to use the computers and turn in the disc at the end of the week, the teacher discovered the file, and accused me of cheating. She said that I had stolen the other boy’s document, even though I had the same lesson saved with entirely different mistakes. The boy vouched for me and told the teacher what had happened, but the teacher was not having it. She claimed that I made him lie to her etc. and then commenced to fail me on the spot, for the entire course mind you.
If I had actually been able to convince that boy to defend me and risk his reputation like the teacher thought, I would have made a great politician!
scholastic (adjective) – of or concerning schools and education
elective (noun) – an optional course of study
bluntly (adverb) – in a clear and straightforward way (i.e. a frank way)
colloquially (adverb) – in the language of ordinary or familiar conversation; informally
hand in (phr. verb) – to submit or give to someone to be checked or marked
vouch for (phr. verb) – to defend or support; to confirm that something is true