A burning question

When I was in third grade, the school I transferred to decided to throw me in the ‘Gifted and Talented’ class. I had been in some special classes before that were geared toward students who weren’t challenged by the normal curriculum, but this was my first time to be taken aside and labeled ‘above average’.  Which, if you’re fluent in third grader, roughly translates to WEIRD. With a capital WEIRD.

At the time,  my school district was small and the Gifted program was somewhat selective, so I was one of four or five students in the class at my grade level. And because I had the luck to end up in a rural town in the South during the early nineties, this meant that my regular class schedule was ignored once a week during last period to make time for forced visitation with other weirdos in a tiny portable building on the edge of the campus. (Oddly enough, the same woman who taught my Gifted class would later accompany me to a strip club, but that’s other story entirely.)

To my school district, Gifted class meant that we needed to be corralled away from the general population, kind of like animals. Or convicts. We were confined in a tiny, stinky classroom and forced to participate in a horror show of nerdness known as the Invention Convention. Even if we had no personal inkling for creativity, at the conclusion of each year, we were forced to ‘invent’ a device to make modern life easier.

My time was better spent (I thought) reading Baby Sitter’s Club books and correcting my homeroom teacher that Colorado was not spelled C-o-l-o-r-a-d-a (true story) so I took about nine seconds to the night before the competition to come up with a device I called the ‘Hook-on Backscrubber’. It was basically a sponge with suction cups hotglued to the back and a piece of soap inserted into a slit in the front. I tried to convince the judges that it meant to suction onto the side of bathtub so that someone with limited mobility could more easily wash their butts. Picture  cow with a bum leg rubbing up against a fence and you’ve got the idea.

The judges didn’t exactly buy it. The looked at me sideways and told me it would be a lot easier just to use a loofah on a stick.

Obviously, I lost. A boy I went on to date and almost marry won the competition. He came up with some kind of unholy buzzing device that alerted teachers when students leaned back in their chairs. Because of course I had to fall in love with an ass-kissing entrepreneur who turned out to have a taste for buxom lab partners.

Really, I’m not bitter. Not about the lab partner thing, anyway. But that invention convention thing still rubs me the wrong way.

I digress.

At the end of that year, my homeroom teacher informed me that I had missed an entire years’ worth of  Health classes during my incarceration in nerd prison. But that didn’t excuse me from sitting the exit exam. She felt like I could pass the test easily because (and I quote) “You’re a bright girl.” I just looked up at her with the hairiest stink eye I could muster and agreed to miss recess to take the test.

So on the last day of school, she handed me a three page test and wished me good luck.

I think I did okay on the whole thing. It was mostly multiple choice, so I diligently filled in each tiny little bubble. It didn’t matter that every answer I made up for the fill-in-the-blank questions was complete bullshit. My third grade year didn’t ride on one test. I would be passed to fourth grade no matter how I did in Health.

Apparently, I passed. I mean, assume I passed. I graduated from the same school district as Salutatorian of my class, so I guess I did okay.

But y’all,  one question has struck in my brain all these years later. (Forget that most mornings I can’t fucking remember if I’ve rinsed the conditioner out of my hair, this little bastard is practically etched deep into my hippocampus.)

You’re getting ready for school one morning and you need to brush your teeth. Your mother has forgotten to buy toothpaste. What do you do?

A) Don’t brush your teeth. One day doesn’t make a difference.

B) Brush your teeth with just a wet toothbrush and no toothpaste. Something is better than nothing.

C) Neither. Brushing your teeth is lame and makes you a stupid doo-doo head.

Or something like that. My recall isn’t exactly picture perfect. But y’all, I’ve been plagued ever since. I answered ‘B’, but is that really the right answer? I mean, it makes sense, right?

RIGHT?

What would you have answered?

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About Chelsie

Mommy. Beauty product whore. Plastic lawn flamingo enthusiast. Nosy neighbor. One day novelist.
This entry was posted in Internetland, Nerdness, No one else will think this is funny, Ranty rant, Weirdness and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to A burning question

  1. I’ve heard salt is a good thing to brush your teeth with. I would have said that.

  2. Sarah says:

    totally b. Something is better than nothing … though I often employ a. maybe my opinion isn’t the best one? lol

    • Chelsie says:

      I have oral hygiene OCD. I have to brush my teeth at least twice a day. And I actually *like* flossing. Oddly enough, though, this story came to mind last night when I was brushing my teeth with just a wet toothbrush because I had, ahem, forgotten to buy more toothpaste.

  3. Maibel says:

    well i would totally say B. i don’t know why but it looks like a little logical.

  4. melsar93 says:

    When in doubt always pick C.

    Of course if we ignore option A then we must brush our teeth. There is no toothpaste (what a horrible mother you must have) so you ‘ll have to brush without toothpaste, which is option B. We are completely ignoring option B so we can’t brush without toothpaste. Which takes us back to option A. It’s diabolical really.

    On another note I think it is very irresponsible for them to let the G&T kids skip health class. G&T kids are already smart – probably smarter than the G&T teacher – so the work done in that classroom is of limited value. Health class however could have saved us…I mean…them from ridicule later in life with tips like shower every day and get at least 15 minutes of sunlight every day.

    • Chelsie says:

      I remember one little boy in my class who should have been forced to take extra Health classes. He stunk. He peed his pants on a regular basis. He once took a shit in a potted plant just to piss off his teacher. Health class (and lessons on personal fucking hygiene for that matter) should have been where he spent his recesses.

  5. Mrs. H. says:

    It’s definitely a trick question, since A and C end in the same result: unbrushed teeth. What happened to the option to brush with a little bit of Mom’s baking soda? Before I even read the options, I assumed that that would have shown up…. I’m still puzzled by C. How exactly do you ignore both options when there are only two, and one of them is inaction? I’m not sure how I can either brush my teeth with a wet toothbrush or not brush my teeth at all…and yet I’m supposed to ignore those choices. You have a great memory to have been able to hold that with you for so long! I’m sure you were perplexed, too…which might explain why it stuck, haha.

    • Chelsie says:

      Ugh. Brushing with baking soda sounds like the least desirable thing I’ve heard in a while. I’d rather rub sand on my teeth like they do on Survivor.

      • Mrs. H. says:

        Haha, yeah, it can be a little bit brutal. I like to get a baking soda “scrub” when I go to the dentist instead of whitening my teeth through other means.

  6. Michelle says:

    I’d have answered “b”, too. And this is coming from the girl who was raised by a dental hygienist. (Would you like to hear the lectures on the evils of soda and sugared gum? Because I can totally give them to you.)

    • Chelsie says:

      I remember your mom making the ‘soda is bad for your teeth’ point very clearly when we were in high school when she and your brother showed how quickly a cup of Coke could dissolve a tooth. Gross… but soda is DELICIOUS.

      • Michelle says:

        I think my favorite was when she told us that, solely from a “healthy teeth” point of view, it was better to drink a two-liter of Coke quickly rather than sip on a 12-ounce can for two hours.

  7. One Cocktail Away says:

    The same thing happened to me..only it was in 7th grade and I got to skip English class once a week. I still have no idea what a “participle” is and why they hang…And, when I started GATE I was in 4th grade and the ONLY student in my WHOLE SCHOOL to be in it. I had to be bussed to the other side of town. Capital Weird, right?? I’m 40 years old now and people still call me a “brain.” LOL! Good article 🙂

  8. Sandy says:

    Yeah, totally would have answered B. But when you are in the Third Grade, is brushing your teeth the most important thing on your mind? I mean, come on, it was totally a trick question.

    • Chelsie says:

      It bothers me to this day. I swear to all that is holy that if a teacher tries to pull that business on my kid, her head will be on a pike in my front yard.

  9. Rachael says:

    I had something sort of similar, but in “earthy-every-child-is-awesome” Massachusetts, it consisted of a teacher taking me and three other students aside and saying if “we thought really hard, someone else can hear our thoughts” and then had us sit there….thinking. I still can’t read the time very well (terms like quarter of confuse me), but thankfully when I get drunk I can tell people I have “ESP”. Sort of.

    Good times.

    • Chelsie says:

      I had a teacher like that in fourth grade. She pulled a group of about five of us aside after school and asked us questions like, “Would you consider yourself more like an apple or a peach?” I think it was for her Master’s Thesis. And with questions like those, it must have been a very interesting thesis. I wish I could have been a fly on that wall when she presented her research to her sponsors…

  10. Brooke says:

    I would just smoke a cigarette to cover up the morning breath. Duh.

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