Floating My Troubles Away

vintage-tubingWhen I was in AP English in high school I flunked the test on the classic novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

It wasn’t my fault though, the teacher screwed up.

I know that sounds like a stretcher Huck would tell to try and cover up some mischief, but I swear on my Grandpappy’s grave, it’s the truth.

Term report cards came out and I was shocked to have a “C” in my best class.

When I went to see the teacher about it, he checked his records and said I’d gotten a zero on the final book test because I didn’t take it. I told him there was no way, I remembered taking the test. I remembered the questions. I remembered answers, some of which I recited to him, and I remembered receiving an “A” on the test.

He said he had no record of it, and unfortunately I hadn’t kept my test after it was handed back. I told him to check attendance to see if I was in class that day.

I was.

So, I took an Advanced Placement class by choice and performed well on every requirement, yet on the day of the final, which would determine a high percentage of my overall grade, I sat at my desk and did nothing?

“That does seem strange since you did so well on everything else, Kari, but I thoroughly went through everything before submitting grades and they stand as they are.”

Perhaps you’re in error, sir?

Perhaps a bunch of flunky jocks have come in droves begging for grade changes to meet eligibility and you’re jaded?

Perhaps you feel underpaid for a thankless job of trying to beat an appreciation of language and literature into the brains of bonehead teenagers and feel the need to punish a deserving student just because you’re cranky after sitting through another bureaucractic faculty meeting where you learned more government programs would be implemented to undermine education?

My rant went something like that, but my rhetoric was wasted on Mr. Apathetic and I fell off the high honor roll that term.

No wonder Huck ditched civilization and took to a life floating down a river since he was misunderstood and punished even when he tried to do good.

This blast from the past injustice ran through my mind because I felt akin to Huckleberry Finn as I sprawled on a tube lazily floating down the Bear River under a surreal blue sky a few days ago.

I was playing hooky from life because this summer has caught me “betwixt,” as Huck would say.

My kids are older, which makes them more independent—sort of. I don’t quite know what they need from me and neither do they. I feel like I’m showing up and working hard, but flunking anyway.

So I took to the river to drift when I’m sure somebody would need something and I wouldn’t be there, or I’d try to be helpful and just end up in the way.

Like Huck says, “What’s the use you learning to do right, when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?”

Leave a Reply