25 October 2006

Just like parcheesi

Today in French class we had a test. I already know that I messed up some of my answers: For example, I wrote "Je fais de tennis," which is WRONG, instead of "Je fais du tennis" (RIGHT; although strictly speaking, this sentence is not true; I do not play tennis, nor do I plan to in the future). Gee whillikers, there are so many things to remember, all at once: verb conjugation, proper usage of preposition, and proper combination of preposition with definite article (this is where I strayed from the flowered path).

Still--here my nerdiness rears its bespectacled head--I rather enjoyed taking the test. There is always a part of me that loves the moment when an exam is placed in front of me and I get to see whether I know the answers. It's one part drama (will our heroine remember that the second person plural form of "faire" ends in s and not z?), one part suspense (will the exam cover unstudied material?), and one part an elementary school thrill, which continues to persist, derived from filling in the blanks on a clean page.

There is another reason that I tend to do well on tests, a reason that was brought to my attention when a friend of mine came to stay with my family for Thanksgiving last year. My siblings, parents and I were being our usual holiday selves, which means being game-gluttons: Scrabble, cards, Trivial Pursuit, Scattegories, you name it, we play it. This friend, noting our penchant for the friendly games, out of the blue asked (though it was more like a statement), "You do well on tests, don't you?" Pertinent note: she is a teacher, a rocking good one, in New York City. She went on to point out the link between a game (ooh, a challenge!) and a test (ooh, a challenge!).

So there you have it. I'm good at school, in part, because of those winter afternoons spent playing Nertz and Boggle. Thus, in the future, I plan to play lots of games with my children. (Yes, I am aware of the futility of making statements about what I will or will not do with as-yet-unborn children, because according to every parent, everything you ever said you would or wouldn't do is but naught in the face of the realities of child-rearing. Still. Games!)

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