So often the person who makes the remark doesn’t intend to be unkind either. They’re just making a joke or a careless remark. It happened to me when I was 10. Computer learning was in its infancy. A college professor had some kids from my class test a math software program. When I finished the exercise, the professor looked at my results and said, “Wow! You only got two wrong. Nobody else did that well before.” Then he handed me a piece of paper. “Here’s your certificate of achievement.” I was really proud. Math wasn’t my best subject and here, I’d done so well! Then I looked at the paper. It was blank. I looked at him. He indicated the trash can and said, “Put that in the round filing cabinet on your way out.” Utter humiliation! After that, I hated math. The last class I took was as a junior in high school. It was the remedial class. We kids called it “stupid person math.” I take great pride in my son who also struggled in math in high school but who now has a degree from UCLA in Math Education. He is a high school Geometry and AP Calculus teacher. So that makes up for it a bit.

I write whatever I want, like poetry The New Yorker wouldn’t dare print. Visit me at denisesheltonwrites.com.

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