Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Monday, July 1, 2013

Spoon River Middle School: 22

Robert Thicke

Free Writing
Taken for Granite

Don’t get all excited.  Of course I know the difference between granite and granted.  I’m being clever.  That’s something no one really expects from me.  Being clever.  Mostly my older sister’s fault, I know.  You remember her?  Roberta?  (This is a case of my parents trying to be clever—naming the girl Roberta, the boy Robert.  Ha, ha.  Why do parents get all weird when they name their kids?  Don’t they know those kids will one day be in middle school?  Where your name becomes a weapon for others to attack you with?)

Anyway, being clever.  Or not.  Ever since my sister cruised through this school (and the elementary) four years ago—highest marks in everything, always did her work, sat in class like an angel who just winged in to learn a little grammar and algebra and take a few tests to see if the teachers were any good or not—ever since then, things have not been all that easy for me.  I had one teacher, back in sixth grade, who actually kept me after class and, holding a recent composition I’d written (in about five minutes, on the bus, on my smart phone, emailed to self, printed in library), said I’m not used to giving this kind of mark to a Thicke.  Meaning: Your sister never turned in crap like this.  I mumbled something I hoped would sound sorrowful.  But the actual words were pretty foul, if you want to know.  But I’m not putting them here because I have no idea what you really do with these papers.  For all I know, you’ll go running right to my sixth grade teacher (whose name I will not tell you though you could find out easy enough, I know) and tell him/her what I actually said that day when I was sounding sorry but saying something obscene.

Oh, and just this year, my math teacher (again—no names!) wrote on one of my (low) tests: Can I help you cry?  That was nice.  I actually kind of laughed.   But, of course, I had to take it home and get Mom or Dad to sign it (my math teacher is one of those).  The math teacher—okay, it’s Mr. Ree, I’m sick of writing “the math teacher”)—probably thought that my parents would straighten me out or give me a good talking to or read me the riot act or whatever.

But Mr. Ree is/was/always will be wrong.  My parents don’t do that kind of thing, not anymore.  I think I’ve convinced them—along with everyone else around here—that I’m dumb.  Which is how I like it.  I like being taken for granite.  That way, I can be smart when I want to, dumb the rest of the time.  Kind of relaxing, to tell you the truth.

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