DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK: The New England Disgratriots

September 14th, 2007 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

This is the conversation Diana and I had this morning, while she was stuck on the 5 Freeway coming back from Sandy Eggs (San Diego) and I was having an espresso at DISGRASIAN HQ.

DIANA: Who should our DOTW be this week? I was thinking we could elaborate on Shinzo “Dishonest” Abe.

JEN: Yeah, I was thinking that, too. I was also thinking the Patriots.

DIANA: Really? I like it, but I don’t know why, said the raging Steelers fan. Explain.

JEN: Cheating’s not Asian.

DIANA: Although cheating is kinda Asian! It’s what all Asian students do (at a School that Shall Remain Nameless) to avoid getting beaten by their parents for bad marks!

And then I remembered that I cheated once. In 7th grade.

7th grade was a rough year for me. I was plagued by sinus allergies. I came down overnight with a mysterious elbow injury that made it nearly impossible to straighten my left arm. No doctor I visited had any explanation for it. And my mom, bless her penny-pinching heart, had given me a home perm at the start of the year that was allowed to set too long, thus rendering me into the exact likeness of…a Standard Poodle.

I still hadn’t sprouted boobs either, unlike all of my friends. Every day after P.E. in the girls’ locker room was like the opening scene of Carrie, with classmates staring at and whispering about my boobless, bony little body.

But I was kicking ass in one area of my life. Pre-Algebra.

Even though my teacher Mrs. Nix (her real name) hated my fucking guts, because I was always passing notes and smacking gum in class, I ruled Pre-Algebra. My father had already forced me to learn pre-Algebra, Algebra, and Geometry before I got to junior high. Pre-Algebra was for pussies.

But Mrs. Nix was a real ball-buster. She had white hair, big hips, and zero patience, especially for children. She was the only person who could throw me off my game. Sometimes when she called on me, even though I knew the right answer, I would space and stammer under her beady-eyed, ol’ biddy glare. That seemed to give her a lot of pleasure.

Before the first semester final, I studied like a girl possessed. I wanted a perfect score to stuff in Mrs. Nix’s face. I filled up my Scan-Tron so fast, I had almost half an hour to spare before the end of class.

We got our tests back a day or two later, right before winter break. Prior to passing them out, Mrs. Nix announced that two students had forgotten to write their names on their Scan-Trons. Then she called me and Shannon D. up to her desk, where she showed us our tests. One was marked with a 96 and the other, a 73.

“But, but,” I began, trying to finesse the situation. “That 96 is…mine. I know it.”

“What am I supposed to do? Just GIVE you an A? Do you think that’s fair? What if the A is Shannon’s?”

“But, but,” I said, trailing off. “What if the ‘A’ was Shannon’s”?

Shannon D. and I were acquaintances. We had only a year before been at the same gymnastics academy, on the same Class IV team. Shannon was an amazing tumbler, and she was also cute and dimply, a kiddie pageant winner. These skills would come in handy a few years later, when she would make varsity cheerleader at our high school and always be the one girl hoisted to the top of a terrifying, three person-high pyramid at pep rallies.

But gravity-defying Shannon D. was no Pre-Algebra whiz. In fact, 7th grade was the last year she and I would have a class together, probably because she realized that the road to popularity was not paved by taking honors classes with dorks like me.

So Shannon and I were exiled to the hallway, in desks that faced one another about 5 feet apart, where we had to do a Florida-in-2000-style do-over of the test. Once again, I blazed through it, this time mostly out of bitterness. When I finished, Shannon was still scratching away at her Scan-Tron, on the slow train back to a C-. I studied her like you would an adorable creature on Animal Planet, her blonde curls bobbing confusedly, her boobs busting out of her Izod.

Then Shannon looked up at me. She saw that I had finished, and she flicked her perfect hair at me. Psst, she was saying, with only the tilt of her head. Gimme your test.

I hesitated, and then I slid my Scan-Tron 180 degrees so that she could see my answers. I let her copy almost the whole damn thing. It was the Darwinian order of 7th grade; she had everything I wanted, and yet I still had to fork over whatever I had that she didn’t.

Shannon went on, as I mentioned, to become the girl at the top of the pyramid, while I played the oboe, led the marching band, and got voted Most Studious at senior prom while accompanied by my gay date. Shannon was voted Most Versatile, which wasn’t as dubious as it sounds and was usually given to a popular girl who didn’t quite make the cut for Prom Queen or Most Popular but was still in the top five of the school’s queen bees. She looked as adorable as ever accepting her superlative in a puffy-sleeved satin dress.

The Monday after prom, however, Shannon showed up to school, most versatilely…preggers. She was five months along but had managed to hide the pregnancy the whole time. And then the week after prom, her belly finally popped forward. By the time we graduated, she was waddling across the stage to get her diploma. The next year, Shannon dropped out of college and had to forfeit her cheerleading scholarship to take care of the baby.

Which brings me around to the New England Patriots. When you’re at the top of the pyramid, when you’ve won three out of the last six Super Bowls, when you’re the only legitimate Football Dynasty of the New Millenium, you don’t put sideline cameras on the field to steal another team’s signs.

Cheating is for people who either don’t have the resources or the talent to get ahead. Cheating is for people who are lazy. Cheating…is for losers.

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