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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Memory (07/10/08)

TITLE: Iron Man
By Paul Potenza


Iron Man

When I was a kid I really stunk up the joint in school.

I went to Catholic school and back in the sixties, the school system that I attended had an insane rule that you had to memorize certain facts and figures or you failed!

Imagine pulling a stunt like that today. You would be assaulted by sixteen civil rights organizations, the Child Protection Agency, and possibly a unit known only as MADS (Mothers Against Dumb Sons) who would DEMAND that you pass little Johnny on the grounds that he had "street smarts" which means that he could successfully remember which street he lived on.

So there I was when Sister Martha Norbert called on me in Science Class.

For some reason known only to her and the Lord, she insisted that I define the chemical sign for Iron out of the possible 106 elements in the Periodic Table. (By the way, don't strain yourself...It's Fe.) Now if she had asked me something logical like Helium I could have said "He" or even Water which was H2O. Water was simple because you always heard people referring to water as H2O. Even GARBAGE MEN were fond of saying "Man, I could use some H2O right now." Then I would have answered correctly and sat down and resumed reading my BatMan comic book which was stealthily hidden in my Science Book.

But No...She required Iron (probably because her corsett was made of the same material. Not that I am bitter.) and I would wrack my brain while the ten thousand other students in the class would be waving their arms, sometimes snapping their fingers for attention to indicate that they knew the right answer.

So why do I bring this up?

It's simple really.

When I was young, I used to be angry about my lack of ability to retain things. I didn't realize that God was giving me memories that would surpass Iron or 1492 or how to conjugate a verb.

The Lord was gracing me with memories that I have until this day. Thoughts of embarrassment and even victory on the occasional moment when I actually had the correct answer. Warm soft feelings about BatMan and summertime and winters on the sledding hill, and the ability to speak crisply and clearly to any topic. Musings where I wish I could take Sister Martha Norbet and kiss her on the cheek for putting up with such a dunderhead as me.

You know, as I've grown older, I've noticed that a lot of people don't have such a good memory. I've seen men my age ravaged by Alzheimer's who've forgotten their very names. I pray hard for such.

And by the way Sister Martha Norbet, Wherever you are, I'm sorry about the corsett comment.

I am "Iron Man" or at least BatMan and the CORRECT answer is Fe.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sara Harricharan 07/17/08
This made me chuckle through the end. What a story! I liked the dry humor sprinkled throughout and especially the "Iron Man" bit. so fun! Thanks for sharing! ^_^
Terry Walker07/21/08
Thanks for putting a smile on my face. My favorite teacher called me a "knothead". Here's to all us "Heads"! How dull the world would be without us!