If a teacher ever wanted to make me hate their soul, all they had to do was say, "Turn in something. A zero is better than an incomplete."
In my freshman year of college, when I still had visions of becoming a computer scientist (I've never heard of this title in any working environment so I guess they change it to sound more professional once you graduate with the degree), I had a teacher that would say that very phrase periodically throughout the semester.
I was never a stud with math past algebra, but the last time I checked an incomplete WAS a zero. For me to spend even fifteen minutes trying to put in a code that makes a '1' turn into a '2' by the press of the 'k' key is only going to make me hate myself for realizing I could never do it. Besides that, there already IS a '1' key, AND a backspace key AND a '2' key. Bill Gates wizards already conjured that spell. I wanted to learn something those super sleuths haven't put their stamp on.
It was not immediately obvious to me that my comprehension of computer science was about as poor as my understanding of women, so I gave the first one or two assignments a shot.
The furthest I got was making it so when I struck the 'k' key, the screen remained blank. I did this by disconnecting my keyboard and throwing it against my wall.
Without a keyboard, it was pretty difficult to turn in anything. I was pretty okay with that.
The next time my teacher ended a lecture talking about zeroes and incompletes, I only wished I'd hung onto my keyboard so I could smash her across the face Wanted style . I will take my incomplete with a couple shots of Southern Comfort, thank you. Hold the ice.
Last weekend I was supposed to hang out with a girl that I've been friends with for over a year and a half. I would only be telling a half-truth if I didn't say I had feelings for her. We met in an Orioles facebook group, and have spoken daily since, either by chat or by phone. Even without meeting her face-to-face, I've already told her in a moment of weakness I'd probably marry her if I had the opportunity. I'm 99.9 percent sure she looks as good as her pictures advertise and isn't actually a troll kept shacked up in a basement.
I've known since about our third conversation that she was out of my league and that having a female friend who updated me on the status of my fantasy team while I was at work was going to have to be victory enough.
As any spaznoid in the presence of a gorgeous girl does, I gave her an out clause, telling her if she changed her mind for any reason, just to let me know before Thursday. Through Wednesday we spoke on the phone and texted throughout the day. Things were looking up.
On Thursday afternoon, we conversed about the Orioles, and about an opportunity I recently received to cover the Lingerie Football League for a story (expect a future post). That was about where our communication ended.
Thursday rolled into Friday. By Saturday morning, I was sure she wasn't coming, though I never received official confirmation.
For five years I'd done everything I could to forget the tragedy that was my computer science class. I received a D+, and because of my several incompletes, could not even talk my way into a C-. I hated the teacher even more for throwing her faulty math in my face.
Fast forward back to last weekend, where, for the first time in my life I eased up on the teacher. I understood that she wasn't even necessarily trying to get us to work harder, but to teach us a lesson about the perception of effort in accompaniment with how much we really care.
My friend had her reasons for not coming, and I don't hold it against her. We were friends for a year and a half without meeting one another; waiting a little longer isn't really a big issue.
I'm even glad to have experienced it, and not because I want to give the crabby teacher that ruined my first semester of college her due.
It took getting stood up to realize how many times, on smaller scales, I've done the same thing to friends, failing to send in my R.S.V.P. for weddings or parties I can't attend and later being unmoving and even sometimes cold when they approached me about not responding.
Sometimes a zero really is a whole lot better than an incomplete.