My idea of market value took a turn when I entered college.
I distinctly remember my tipping point: first year, first sem, first Math 17 exam results. The professor was on-time, 4:00 pm sharp. And the atmosphere that afternoon was an intense mixture of anticipation and fear. After all, with valedictorians sitting right next to each other, the results of this first test would validate whether you really are worth the title. The bar was indeed set higher.
But alas, perhaps owing to our personal propensities to be students of behavior and political dynamics, math was never our block’s forte. Almost half failed the exam. And the professor, in his attempt to inspire the fallen ones that it was possible to breeze through his subject, decided to do a top ten roll call. Pageant season anyone?
The 10th highest… not me; 9th… still not me; 8th; 7th; 6th; 5th; 4th; 3rd… still not me.
And so I was a finalist. It’s the quintessential pageant high albeit in a totally nerdy spin.
“The second highest is Mr. DD.” A runner-up finish is not bad at all.
But wait, what’s happening? Girls are giggling as if someone’s tickling their vaginas pink… and a rouse of clapping ensued.
It was awkward, scary even. I, the boy who never had girl classmates in high school, was blushing as I stepped forward to receive my blue book. What the freak was happening? Later did I found out that they were happily surprised that I was not only cute but smart as well.
Smart? Okay, I’ve heard that before. But cute? That was an alien word to me. After all, I cannot, for the life of me, imagine hearing that from one of my high school classmates. With certain priests and teachers always on our backs in a seeming inquisition to ferret out boys from boys who like boytoys, telling someone you’re cute will most likely result in a disciplinary sanction or a watchful eye at the very least.
And so, there I was, basking in the giggly claps of girls without them knowing that on my way back to my desk I was imagining walking down a runway with a tiara on my head and a sparkly sash over my shoulder.
For Tristan... my first-ever cyber-celebrity.