Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The French Disconnection

Way back in high school, I was something of a whiz kid. The only word that ever showed up on my report card was AAAAA. Not only did I study hard, I was blessed with a certain level of cognitive ability. I don't remember too many stories from my high school days, but one negative kernel has stuck with me lo these many years ...

When I was a freshman, I took an introductory french class. As I already had several years of french instruction under my belt, this class was nothing more than a review of what I already knew. Not only did I have a mind that stored up some knowledge, but I also had an ear for hearing the language and a tongue for speaking it. I was so good that I remember one day when I was having a private session with my french teacher in the language lab, the portugese teacher walked in and an impressed look suddenly stretched across his face. He looked at me and declared, "Wow, it even sounds like you are speaking a foreign language!" How's that for an endorsement of my abilities?

Yet one day after I took a test, my french teacher took me aside and accused me of cheating. I stood my ground and defended myself. I had no need to cheat and would never resort to such a tactic. He eventually accepted my statement. However, he wrote across the top of my very next test paper, "I still have my doubts." This man was actually accusing me again. I was flabbergasted. I approached him and demanded that he present his evidence. He refused. I challenged him to give me a make up test where he could sit and watch me alone. He declined. I told him that if he ever accused me of any such act again, I would bring this before the principal and the school board if necessary. He never uttered another charge against me. However, it still eats at me why he would accuse me so falsely.

I endured a similarly frustrating experience very recently in my life. I was part of a group of adults that met regularly. After several months together, I thought the group was getting along pretty well, really opening up and getting to know each other. However, after a recent meeting, one of the people in the group turned against me, yet would not tell me why. It was so frustrating and so out of line, that it immediately sparked the memory of my french disconnection from so many years ago. So, Jean-Luc (or whatever your name was), now that some 25+ years have passed, will you finally tell me what grounds you had for accusing me twice for cheating on your tests?