Ever since I can remember I have loved reading. This gave me the edge when I started school; my letter recognition and innate understanding of sentence structure and grammar made the transition to formal language acquisition quick and painless. It also paid dividends for my general schooling. A rich imagination combined with a broad general knowledge – also developed through my eclectic reading habits – soon became a tool of success in other subjects as I progressed to High School.
Given a few facts and an empty sheet of paper, I could address most exam and assignment questions with as much aplomb as necessary to confuse and bamboozle most teachers into at least a ‘C’ grade. Of course, this did not apply as well to the sciences and was virtually useless in mathematics but I had only modest goals at school and these were:
- To work as little as possible; and
- To achieve just enough as to keep my parents off my back.
My talent for writing and invention carried me through most subjects and, as for maths; I figured even my parents’ expectations stopped just short of perfection. I was young and arrogant and for years neither my goals nor strategies suffered any serious dent. While my friends struggled valiantly to make a few hard-earned facts go to more than one page, I was happily writing screeds on the basis of pure air and vaguely related ephemera.
Then one day it all came to an end. I was awarded a ‘D’ for Geography, questions were asked at home about my study routine (a routine that consisted of the creation of elaborate timetables for study rather than their actual execution) and demands issued that my virtual approach to learning be abandoned for something more solid.
And the comment on my school report card that brought years of practiced avoidance to an end? My astute Geography teacher had written, next to the dreaded ‘D’ “Oscarandre has a wonderful writing ability. Now, if he only had something to write about…”