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  • Tom Boyd

Dumb and Dumber

When I was in 6th grade I had a teacher who gave extra credit to her students who read a book and provided a written book review of one page. She also gave the students a gold star on a chart where she posted everyone’s numbers of books. I read more than anyone in the class and almost more than the rest of the class combined. In mid-year she left the school due to illness. The new teacher took down the chart and did not explain nor sub a different reward system. I kept reading but did not do another book report, required or not, until college.

Dumb and Dumber.

When I was in 7th grade I had an English teacher who gave weekly spelling tests. The tests were graded in class by passing them to the student in front or behind. I was and am a terrible speller. I got tired of the comments of my class mate graders so I hit upon the solution. My solution was to put my name on a blank sheet of paper and pass that to the grader. This upset the teacher greatly and he invented a special “F” grade as a result. I got a bigger F for the blank sheet than if I had misspelled all 20 words of the test. I failed English.

Dumb and Dumber.

I took a number of aptitude tests in basic training which the Army used to determine skills and job placement. Much to my surprise and to the surprise of the company officers, NCOs (non-commissioned officers –sergeants) and the 250 or so other recruits I got the second highest score on the Officer Candidate School (OCS) test. The company Major wanted me to apply as soon as I was of age to do so (I was 17 and you had to be 18 ½ to apply for OCS). The company Master Sergeant (who in 1966 had already served a one year tour in Vietnam and would be going back) told me I was too lacking in common sense, life experiences, and age (my words as he was not that kind) to make a good officer. I was in Vietnam when I turned 18 ½. I did not apply to OCS because I did not want to be responsible for other people’s lives, fear of failure and my acceptance that his comments were all valid.

Dumb and Dumber.

I learned late in life that while you can do things that make you feel dumb that letting others to cause that feeling in you is actually dumber. I wish I could teach my grandkids to be less dumb and never dumber.

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