What the Hell Are You Saying?

No matter how much older I get, there are certain scenarios that instantly transport me back to being in school. Something about a circumstance or situation brings me back to feeling baffled in class. Even though I am not that far removed from those days, the feeling of being unprepared, of having not done my homework is something that seemed like a distant memory. At least, until that feeling popped up again unexpected.
I don’t anticipate getting much smarter in the next 60 years, I have to admit to myself that not only will I not increase my mental capabilities, but most likely, I will at best remain stagnant. And I will be reminded of those times in school when I had no idea what was going on.
I was a good citizen this week and voted. I did a little research to see what amendments or proposals I would be voting on before I got to the booth. I did this so I would not accidentally pass a law legalizing the use of arsenic in creamed corn or ban the use of fluoride in water.
I was enlightened to see that there were only 2, one of which was pretty straight forward. The other one read as follows:
The proposed amendment would eliminate the requirement that veterans who were disabled in the actual performance of duty in any war be receiving disability payments from the United State Veterans Administration in order to qualify for additional points on a civil service examination for appointment or promotion. Under the proposed amendment, the disability must only be certified to exist by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The proposed amendment would also update the reference to the "United States Veterans Administration" to instead refer to the "United States Department of Veterans Affairs" to reflect current federal government structure. Shall the proposed amendment be approved?
My first instinct was to turn to the person in the desk next to me and see what they were writing on their essay.
Then I realized this wasn’t a social studies test, I’m not in high school, and I’m not 16. I’m 20freaking5. I was just sitting at my computer at work trying to figure out what the hell that amendment said. I had to read it twice before I realized I was never going to figure out what it meant on my own.
I had to go to some other website to translate what this amendment said because apparently I only speak English, I don’t comprehend it.
And what the amendment basically said was, “If you got a bullet hole in you, you don’t need to be getting money from the government in order to get a better chance at a government job.”
Way easier that way isn’t it?
No wonder ridiculous laws get passed. People are tricked into thinking that something is a good idea, or a bad idea for that manner. And just think, we vote to elect people into office, to draft these amendments that we then have to vote on but can’t comprehend because the people we elected weren’t bright enough to understand how simple we are.
Easy right?
I once had a teacher in high school who would get frustrated when the classroom got noisy and he would shout “WHY AM I NOT THE ONLY ONE TALKING?”
I had to sit there and repeat the sentence over in over in my head while drawing a tree diagram on my notebook to try and understand it.
Why am I the only one talking? Why am I not the only one talking? How about, why are you talking? Or even better, Shut up! Sentences should not be that confusing. No wonder the class kept talking; we had no idea what the hell teacher was saying.
At the risk of embarrassing myself (which I risk doing every time I leave my apartment) I would like to relate another story.
I recently took a class over 2 weekends that prepares you to sit on the board of non-profits. It was a fascinating class and I learned a lot, but unfortunately we had homework.
One of the items for homework was to evaluate the budget of a fictional non-profit. The sample budgets were shown over the course of 6 different pages. It was confusing at best. There were numbers everywhere that I couldn’t process. I started to get a headache. I started feeling insecure and inadequate. In fact it made me realize I wanted to change my major from Business to something else.
And then I realized I wasn’t in college, I had changed my major, and I already got a C in accounting.
I can so vividly remember freshman year accounting when I was the dumbest kid in my group (possibly the class) and I volunteered to type up our paper so I could at least say I contributed something.
“Shouldn’t we capitalize the R in the word Revenue? That’s what I thought too.”
In fact when I got to my nonprofit class, I was having heart palpitations thinking the teacher might call on me to explain the budgets. At which point I probably would have had to pretend I had a really important phone call or just fake a heart attack.
I don’t think that I will ever understand everything, I am not sure that I will ever stop having those moments of feeling like a confused kid in school again. I’m still trying to adjust to being a confused adult. Perhaps it was the feelings of inadequacy, the constant inability to reach my potential, or always sounding like an idiot when I talk to girls. And that was just last week.
Maybe those feelings never go away.
Either way, I thank you for being one of the people who didn’t forget to choose to not forego reading my blog.