Ok, so, I’m going to try to do two things differently — namely, punctuation and capitalization — and I’m doing this in homage to the suggestions of my snarky editor, known as ‘The Editor’ and who you’ll also find in greater abundance on the other page, http://skeetgreylovestain.wordpress.com.
Ok, so, here it is. I was sitting down chatting with my family this afternoon and I realized (one of my favorite words that I realize I use repeatedly is ‘realize’) that there is a connection between something that happened to me in 4th grade and something that happened to me in 5th. Let’s start with 4th.
Ok, so I really like beginning each paragraph this way. Sorry but I do. So, there I was in 4th grade and lo and behold somehow one day I got hold of this book – here, let me look it up. Maybe it still exists on amazon – yup. The 2002 edition of ‘Free Stuff for Kids.’ Anyway, there I was looking up paper dolls and free maps that I could get just by sending in a self addressed stamped envelope, and somehow I landed upon a small recipe book that included a pie recipe. Probably for apple pie. So it arrived in the mail and I was super stoked so I ripped open the package and somehow pieced together all of the ingredients from what I found in the kitchen. I was in such a hurry to make it that I only skimmed over what ingredients were needed. I figured, why bother reading the rest of it? I know what’s supposed to be in it. And off I went into the lala land of cooking, delighted that I was beginning my sojourn into chef-dom. Well, surprise surprise when the gloppy mess of doughy ingredients mixed directly with pie filling parts didn’t quite add up together to look like an actual pie. No no nope.
Ok, so what I realized next was that a similar event occurred in 5th grade. I never quite appreciated how grammar functioned in language, I suppose. I spoke English, still do actually (no snarky comments allowed here, Mr. ‘E’) but there must have been a sort of unself-conscious haze over my inkling of language. And I discovered this when I had to begin learning a foreign language, namely French. My basic understanding was so naïve, really, that I thought that learning a new language simply meant substituting one letter for every other letter in the English language. Basically, learning any language was simply a matter of decoding symbols. Of course, I learned quickly that that didn’t make much sense especially since ‘boy’ and ‘garcon’ don’t even have the same number of letters, but I’ll never forget that innocent lens of the world I had. Now some people might not call that ‘innocent.’ In fact, a much harsher word might come to mind (don’t even go there, ‘E.’). But, I’ll have you know that I was the product of a pretty ordinary public school system at the time and I earned much higher than average grades and this was also before the era of daily cross-checking of your child’s testing results like you have now in most schools. In general, my parents didn’t know how I was doing until six months into the year, in fact. Still, somehow I survived. And, yes, it was when I finally entered a private school and had the opportunity to learn a foreign language that my understanding of my own language quadrupled.
Anyway, my point being (now that I have become defensive about my own education) is that it’s funny how a child’s mind works. It has its own internal logic until the stratification and edification and systematizing of the mind occurs under the influence of standardized education. Maybe it’s not as logical for a child to think that dumping all ingredients from a recipe into a bowl should produce a pie or that if you substitute G, R, L for every A, B, and C you will soon be speaking Swahili, but I would like to think that at least my creative flair was, and still is, intact. If you don’t know the answer to something, at least your mind (as a child) is still free enough not to give up knowing or trying to know. Now that I’m an adult, I’m too afraid to look dumb to ever offer an answer that doesn’t seem ‘legitimate.’ But I think that’s kind of sad really. A wealth of creative problem solving has been obliterated in the name of propriety and rationality and sobriety and ‘normalcy.’ And that’s just plain boring, in my opinion.