Friday, January 16, 2009

A Blast of Writing From The Past

I Googled myself today, just for shits and giggles. Something interesting usually pops up whenever I do this, and this time was no exception. The first thing I found was the headline:

Dishonest scholar deserves punishment

Now, why would I ever have written about that? The most probable explanation is that my friend was an editor for our high school paper and desperately needed to fill some column inches on the op-ed page, way back in October 1998. (This very same friend just defended her Ph.D. thesis this morning, by the way. Congratulations, Dr. Courtney!)

When I stumbled upon the article, I couldn't imagine having written something so banal. I must have been trying to pad my journalistic portfolio or something. But as I read it, I recognized more and more of myself in it. I was most certainly a dramatic young lady, as you will see from the article, provided below:

Lon "L.T." Grammer was a model student. He had a 3.91 GPA and brilliant recommendations from his former teachers at Cuesta Community College in California. He was a perfect candidate for transfer to Yale University in the fall of 1994. So why would such a shining political science student copy a take-home exam? And why would he choose to copy an exam that was clearly no better than an F paper? These were the valid questions that led Grammer’s professors and Yale authorities to begin investigating Grammer’s character.

What they found was startling: Grammer had falsified his transcript, raising his GPA from 2.077 to 3.91, and forged the recommendations of several fictitious teachers. Grammer had also created information for his driver’s license applications in both New Hampshire and Connecticut. He is currently fighting a court battle with the town of Meriden, and another with Yale is yet to come.

However, a court case is not a strict enough punishment for this deviant from the system. Many high school seniors work themselves ragged to get into educational institutions like Yale. These honest students agree that someone who repeatedly broke the law, falsified his entire transcript and has a C- grade point average should be thrown out of the school, prosecuted to the fullest, and embarrassed thoroughly.

Grammer should be blushing already; he was caught because he cheated off of someone of near-equal academic standing. Yale should make an example of him, maybe by testifying against him in his court cases for driver’s license fraud, just to make sure he gets the punishment he deserves. Perhaps he should be sentenced to repeat twelfth grade, or maybe he should be blacklisted from the top 25 undergraduate schools in the nation. Yale should teach Grammer to work his way up from nothing by leaving him alone with the aftermath of his self-destruction.

...

"aftermath of his self-destruction" --> that's how I knew it was mine. The bit about being sentenced to repeat the twelfth grade, as I was embarking upon my own senior year experience, was a dig at high school. I was probably mad at some administrator for censoring something with genuine artistic merit (I spent a good portion of my junior and senior years that way). This flimsy opinion piece, which I probably didn't even care much about, is written such that it is able to remind me of exactly who I was at the time, even 10+ years later.

Do you ever go back and read things you've written in the past? Do they stand the test of time? Is there a voice that you recognize as "you," and has it changed in the interim?

1 comment:

Lil Miss said...

I had a chance to read some of my old things when we were packing a few months ago. It gave me a, "I don't quite remember writing this...part it sounds like me," as you said in your post.

Unfortunately I don't really have opportunities to write more than a blog post at a time. Ideas do bounce around in my head, though. Maybe I'll do NaNoWriMo this year--it fits into my "post-wedding" schedule.