Favorite

Testing, testing 

Junior, that peach-fuzzed philosopher of Maple Street, who stands now head and shoulders taller than the mother who birthed him 17 years and change ago and eye to eye with his old man, got his ACT test results in the other day. His score was several points higher than The Observer's ACT rack up long and long ago, enough to make us damn proud of him, not to mention breathe a little sigh of relief. Between the tuba playing and his score, we're hoping he will be able to get a scholarship to one of the state's finer diploma mills or cow colleges, anything to get him that magic, door-opening piece of paper without piling on the lead-lined student loan debt that seems to hang about the dreams of so many of his generation like a boat anchor.

When we heard his score, The Observer was taken back to our own high school days, getting such education as was doled out at good ol' Paron High, Home of the Lions, where you could pitch a tennis ball underhand from one end of the main high school building to the other. The Observer, who had a vague sense that we probably needed to go to college but no clue at how to get there (especially given that we were then holding down a generous 2.1 GPA), had resigned our self to working a few years on Pa's roofing crews while we figgered it all out. We signed up to take the ACT for the proverbial shits and giggles, mostly just to see what would happen.

As if that bad attitude wasn't enough to signal failure, the day before we were scheduled to show up at Benton High School with our sharpened No. 2 pencils and scratch paper to take the test, The Observer and our baby brother were on the way to school in our beloved 1963 Chevrolet with the pearl white paint and the flashy rims when we topped a rise, dropped a tie rod end — one of those greasy, invisible parts that delivers your deft and loving touch on the steering wheel to the front tires — and careened headlong into a stand of old-growth timber. The car had settled into what would have been a spectacular barrel roll when it hit a pin oak bigger around that a No. 9 washtub squarely in the passenger side door, a blow hard enough to crush the top and bend the car in a U. How the hell the two of us survived it, we'll never know, but we did. Our brother, however, bears a mangled scar on his forehead that he'll carry to his grave, and which he regularly and successfully uses to guilt trip his older brother.

The next morning, beat to hell, half The Observer's back covered in a bruise that snaked from shoulder to tailbone, we limped to the world's hardest chair at Benton High School and took that test. Pulled a respectable score, too. Not great by a long shot, but respectable. Respectable enough that we walked around convinced for a while that there had been a mix up between our test and some kid who actually made the effort. Whatever the case, the good folks at UALR were kind enough to extend a tuition-only scholarship, dependent on maintaining a 3.5 GPA for all four years, a number so stratospherically high that we expected it to be a one-semester and done deal. The Observer, however, is nothing if not greedy for other folks' money, so we buckled down, held on and kept that sucker for a full ride. If we can do it, so can you, pilgrim.

We've got our hopes set pretty high that Junior can as well. Strange how things can change over a number, ain't it? The older we get, though, the more we realize how quickly a fortune, a future, a lifetime can pivot on the tiniest of things. Living proof right here, sons and daughters.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Show and tell

    The Observer is an advocate of the A+ method of integrating the arts and using creativity to teach across the curriculum, an approach that the Thea Foundation, with help from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is offering to schools across the state.
    • Feb 25, 2016
  • Yawp

    The Observer has been in a funk lately for a number of reasons: revulsions and slights, both foreign and domestic. We get that way most years as the winter drags on, once the tinsel and colored lights of Christmas drop into the rearview, soon after we come off the New Year's Day hangover.
    • Mar 24, 2016

Most Shared

  • Take yourself there: Mavis Staples coming to LR for Central High performance

    Gospel and R&B singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples, who has been inspiring fans with gospel-inflected freedom songs like "I'll Take You There" and "March Up Freedom's Highway" and the poignant "Oh What a Feeling" will come to Little Rock for the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High.
  • Klan's president

    Everything that Donald Trump does — make that everything that he says — is calculated to thrill his lustiest disciples. But he is discovering that what was brilliant for a politician is a miscalculation for a president, because it deepens the chasm between him and most Americans.
  • On Charlottesville

    Watching the Charlottesville spectacle from halfway across the country, I confess that my first instinct was to raillery. Vanilla ISIS, somebody called this mob of would-be Nazis. A parade of love-deprived nerds marching bravely out of their parents' basements carrying tiki torches from Home Depot.

Latest in The Observer

  • Old hands and new

    The Observer has, as of this week, been at this job for 15 years, long enough that if we'd been born in August 2002 instead of starting on this long journey, we'd have peach fuzz on our chin, a spray of acne and questionable taste in both fashion and music.
    • Aug 17, 2017
  • True Observer

    The Observer reveres the One True Observer, who lives in the wires of the West and in the Great Cloud.
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • Adieu, Mooch

    If The Observer were prone to feeling sorry for folks who further the aims of a corrupt authoritarian fanboy, we could almost feel sorry for those who Trump has chewed over and spit out during his six months in office. Almost.
    • Aug 3, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

August

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation