Wednesday, February 12, 2014
C is for Chump
I married my high school sweetheart. My husband married his high school sweetheart. Which means that we married each other. It also means that we went to high school together. He followed me around for all of my sophomore year. I had no idea. Back then it was called ‘kind of cute.’ Today it’s called stalking.
After the stalking phase, we actually took a class together—some kind of writing class, I can’t remember what it was called—Word Mongering, Essays Anyone Can Understand, How to BS Your Way Through the Rest of your Life, something.
The first thing our public school teacher told us was that no one in that class, not one of us, was college material.
I believed her.
I’m not sure if Sherwood cared enough to believe her. I think he was still mildly stalking me at this point.
The second thing our public school teacher said left most of us shocked and shaken.
“I can smell plagiarism. And I mean smell it, not to mention recognize it when I see it,” she said, fixing her plagiarism-detecting eyes on us as she looked down her plagiarism-sniffing nose at us. She repeated her plagiarism spotting abilities, many times. We trembled.
Okay, I trembled. Sherwood was checking out my Sweet Honesty t-shirt.
I went home and sweated over our first writing assignment, two pages of ‘something that interests you,’ every word mine, every thought from me, every sentence coming out of my head. What was my paper about? I have no idea. But I know one thing, IT WAS MY ORIGINAL WORK.
Sherwood went home cracked open the Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia and copied one of the articles—WORD FOR WORD—straight out of the book. I remember what his TOTALLY FAKE essay was about—The Boston Freaking Marathon.
We handed in our papers to the fake paper-sniffing teacher.
Okay, let’s recap. I wrote a totally original essay. Sherwood cheated like a guy selling fake Gucci’s in New York City.
Sherwood the Cheater made . . . wait for it . . . an A, with “Very Interesting!” written across the top of that fake paper like a going out of business banner.
My paper? I made . . . wait for it . . . a C . . . for chump.
Later, he had the effrontery—how’s that word for a C for chump writer—to claim that he didn’t copy the article word for word. He left out words like written by and see reference.
I admit; it was a little discouraging, but I got over it and had the effrontery to finally go to college and keep right on writing. I also married the boy, but I encouraged him to pursue a career in computers rather than wordsmithing.
Linda (Tattle Tale) Zern