In sixth grade I was forced to come up with something for a science fair. I wasn’t a very crafty child. I had plenty of book smarts and was getting A’s and B’s in all my classes, but when it came to making something, it was never going to happen.
All throughout junior high school I dreaded shop class. I was so afraid of losing a finger during woodshop. And then, in seventh grade, we had welding. Holy crap! I was terrified of welding: putting that giant mask on and then the sound and sparks, and, oh, it’s too horrible to even think about. I don’t recall what I was supposed to make in welding, a table or whatever, but what I had at the end of the year was three quarters of a square. I had managed to weld three pieces of metal together. That was it. I didn’t even make a complete square, let alone an entire table
In fifth grade home economics I somehow completed a Lurky from Rainbow Brite pillow. Not only that, I didn’t get beaten up afterwards for having it. To this day I don’t know how I was able to do that because in seventh grade I stitched together half a football. I was not good at Home-Ec.
So, when the science fair came, I panicked. What do kids do? I saw on television some kids make a working volcano. I had no idea how to do that. But one of the things I learned in school was that sometimes you can just not bother, and you’ll get away with it. It happened to me a number of times, and it happened here.
So what was my science fair project? I brought four tall glasses and a fork into school. I filled the glasses up with varying amounts of water. Then I sat there for God knows how long while students and teachers walked around staring at each project. I think one of them kids in the smart class cloned a caterpillar, and what was I doing? Trying to play some recognizable song with a fork on my water glasses.
Oh, did I feel like an idiot. Look at me! I can almost play “Row, Row, Row Your Boat!” The laughter that came from my friends, and the disappointed looks from teachers was just unbearable. I was like Ralphie Wiggum from “The Simpsons,” with his Star Wars figures in lieu of a diorama. Maybe if I was able to play something, I’d have been all right. I was taking guitar lessons at the time. So I had some musical chops. I could have learned A-ha’s “Take on Me” or Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop.” Why not?
This would happen to me a lot, especially in my real science classes to come. I have no craft or building anything ability, and, my, how I am ashamed. I don’t remember what my grade was for the science class, but I survived, and continued into seventh grade and the next humiliation.