I made some bacon in the oven this morning. At 42 years old, I just learned that sweet little technique from my sister a couple of weeks ago. No stove mess. Bacon is more uniform. Delish.
But I can't help but wonder why it took me so long to know this little fact.
It never came up.
Then I think of the holes in knowledge we all carry around with us, an errant word definition or pronunciation, mistaken geographic data or mismatched historical timeline.
For example, when I was just about done with the 4th grade my teachers all got the big idea it would be good to send me and five of my fellow future 5th graders to the 6th grade school. This other school had only 6th graders. So we would go to all their classes, spend our recesses and lunches with them and other than attending the year-end environmental camp essentially act as 6th graders.
At the time, I thought of it as a compliment to my intelligence, almost like I was being moved ahead a grade.
But it didn't play out like that. Not for me, anyway.
Here's what happened:
1) I was completely unprepared for the 6th grade curriculum. This was especially damaging in mathematics. In fact, I became convinced I wasn't a math guy. This carried through 8th grade. It wasn't until my 9th grade teacher showed some faith in me that I realized I was excellent at math. I even went on to a couple semesters of Calculus in college.
2) I didn't learn my capitals. You know in fifth grade when you learn all the states' capitals? I didn't do that. Most people probably forget this by their teens, but still.
3) I was suddenly the target of every bully. I was thin and fairly weak back in the day and I was scared because I had no friends in the grade above me. I was easy to pick on and those guys gravitated towards me like flies on cow pies. This, unfortunately, continued through maybe the 10th grade, when the muscle fairy finally decided to stop by and say hello. Plus the grade above me basically lost interest. They were seniors by then, after all.
4) The following year, when I was reintroduced to my class, I was a nervous stranger. They all had a year of memories and because I was so socially backwards in the first place, getting back into the crowd, getting comfortable with my peers, took many, many moons.
5) The following year, I got to do 6th grade poorly all over again. I still didn't know all those things I didn't know and I had no way to reclaim any of it.
Where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, holes in our knowledge. I guess it boils down to holes in our experiences, which lead to holes in our knowledge.
I love the life I have and the people I am so fortunate to have in it. But I can't help but wonder sometimes how fundamentally different I would be, how different my personality, my confidence, my diligence, my simple intelligence would be if I had spent 5th grade with 5th graders.
Then I think that maybe I would have not become a writer, may have not turned to what is essentially a self-taught endeavor, may have been a sports guy or something, and I'm all finished feeling sorry for myself.
End of whine...