Penny, over at her site, Penny Romance, blogged about Number Two pencils, in addition to discussing her usual drinking, carousing, mermaid headbands and general mayhem making.
Every single time I think about Number Two Pencils, I relive a particular day in my life. The memories stand out in crystal clear relief against the rest of mi loca vida. And I’ll tell ya, that’s tough to do.
There I was, barely 15, left in charge of my two younger sisters, ages 13 and 10, and the dog, while my parents headed off to Hawaii. It’s like this… in Iowa you could get a license at 14 if necessary. I got my license so I could drive my sisters to Hebrew school twice a week – a 70 mile round trip. But anywho… that’s beside the point.
What did I do the night before the SATs, (which by the way were an hour’s drive away because I was taking them early because I planned to graduate early from high school)? Well I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing the night before. Yeah. Me. The bad old days.
I came to about 40 minutes before the test. Panic-stricken, I flew to the car, drove maybe a hundred miles an hour, ran into the school, a school in another city to which I had never been– the school that is– sprinted down the hallway, and arrived just as they locked the door to the testing site.
Mortified, horrified, I grabbed the nearest attendant and begged and pleaded for admission. I mean I literally got down on my knees. I needed to take that test because I was leaving the country before the next test would be offered. She was willing, praise the lord, but when she asked for ID, I realized I’d run from the house so fast I’d left my purse behind– along with my driver’s license and my SAT admission form. I had my car keys, the clothes on my back, a pair of flip-flops, and the birthmark on my upper thigh, which I offered to show her. That’s it.
I sat on the floor, my back against the locked door, racked by sobs, you know, those kind of hiccough sobs you simply cannot control. I figured the police would arrive any minute to haul me away, but no, a miracle…a miracle! They let me in. Seriously, we are talking major divine intervention here. Like the entire Supreme Court of angels took pity on me and opened the door.
All eyes followed me as I searched for a vacant desk. Unwashed face streaked with tears, unkempt hair sticking out every which way – there might as well have been a big ‘L’ branded on my forehead, my loser-ness was that obvious. The attendant handed me the test and it hit me. It so totally hit me. I didn’t have two Number Two pencils. I didn’t even have one Number Two pencil.
The dam burst again and tears flowed. But once more, the angels took pity on me and the attendant handed me two extra pencils.
At his order, I slit open my test and I stared. My mind was a complete and total blank. I couldn’t even read. That’s when I knew it hadn’t been wise to do sumthin’ sumthin’ the night before the SATs.
Man, talk about talking myself down. I did manage to complete the tests – Math and Language (English). Aced the Language portion with a perfect score. Tanked on the math section.
So yeah, the mention of Number Two pencils does it to me every single time. Let this be a lesson to you. Do as I say, not as I do.
By the way, Jaye Manus, if you’re listening, I watched a weird-ass horror movie staring never here-to-fore mentioned actor Bruce Campbell – Bubba Ho-Tep. I couldn’t believe it. You just told me who he is yesterday. Sweet!