Friday November 28, 2014

How do you spell that scholarship thing I got?

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As a much younger person, I recall lobbying my high school's administration to implement a “Tried Hard” scholarship or prize at the end of the academic year.

I had to admit that finding worthy recipients on an annual basis might be daunting.

It was my warped sense of righteousness that led me to declare that there were plenty of awards and lots of money made available to the obviously brightest students, but that left out some deserving candidates who did a whole lot more with a whole lot less in the cerebrum department who probably deserved a look-see. In other words, they worked twice as hard to achieve a decent mark of B+ or a 73 per cent while the brain trust kid could whip off a 98 without breaking a sweat.

Make no mistake, I wasn't a candidate for either category, so I made my case without any conflict of interest. The term dogged determination never applied to me. I was there for the laughs, an occasional enlightenment on something scholastic in nature, as long as it didn't interfere with social activities, football practices or seeing if Judy needed a ride home.

But I was classified as a Rhodes Scholar at one point.

All right, let's clarify that slight spelling error.

Roads Scholar I believe the principal meant as in, “Parksie, if you don't get your average up over 63 per cent, you might as well hit the road.”

That made an impression on my slightly scarred little soul, so I buckled down a bit more diligently and damned if I didn't get to that 68 or 71 or whatever it turned out to be. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn't fodder for the scholarship run. I didn't even make the first cut.

I blame my inability to speak, write or yes, understand the language of French and algebra for my not-so-unique scholastic gradient. That 13 per cent in trigonometry in the second semester didn't advance my scholarship potential either, but it certainly provided some clarity toward my career choices. I never did capture the subtle essence of trigonometry and I know not why, nor do I lose sleep over it. It just wasn't to be. Algebra and computations ... same thing.

I just don't like dealing with numbers and made the mistake of uttering that statement in front of one of our city's local accountant types, Patrick Dupuis, a number of years ago. We were seated at Table 4 in Waterhole No. 3 with friends from the Molson and Bacardi families in attendance and I uttered the statement that his profession defied explanation and was probably a tough road to hoe what with him just having stuffy old numbers to deal with every single day.

Well, did I get my auditor's assets handed to me!

Patrick went on at great length ... waxing poetic on the wonders of accounting, finding solutions to complex financing plans, defining reports and the art of forging (that's probably not a good word selection) and then being able to read financial statements while enjoying the details found within them. There was the rush involved in helping a client find a solution to complex problems that dealt not only with money but also time, space, personnel and so on and so on. I hollered uncle, right after hollering for another round. He convinced me, once again, that what I knew about the wonderful world of numbers was limited and none too enlightened.

OK, so some people like to read financial statements. I get it. I prefer Sports Illustrated ... even their swimsuit edition. When they get Kate Upton explaining the accounting notes after the operating revenue report, maybe I'll pay attention.

Until then, I say enjoy your flailings and flaws while you can.   

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