Sunday, September 20, 2009

Would've, Could've, Should've - Part 3

What's the use of numbering my "Would've, Could've, Should've" posts? I guess there's really no use. I'm about to launch a "Drive for Pride" campaign ... sometime this week ... and I guess I'm just very proud of the posts, enough that, so far, I'm keeping track.

I generally keep track of everything until it gets impractical and hard to manage. Then I forget it.

Anyway, I've been giving a lot of thought to the concept of "Would've, Could've, Should've" over the last few days. If you ever try to work with these three words, one thing you notice right away is that it all has to be past tense. So if you're talking about something that happened five minutes ago, you can do it. But if it happened longer than five minutes ago, you're likely to be able to come up with more stuff to say about it.

Another thing. It's got to be something with enough potential regrets and possibilities to lament about. It doesn't seem practical to do a post about sharpening a pencil, for example. What would you say? "I should've sharpened it earlier. I would've had I thought of it. And I could've, since the sharpener was right there." There's hardly any room for regrets. But if you throw in some other circumstances -- you know what? That's where I'm going with this...

The theme today will be sharpening a pencil. I'll see how it goes. It's interesting enough because we've all done it, at least from the generation I'm from when we had to use pencils and didn't have laptops in school. I don't think I can do it. I don't find it compelling. But I'll try ... yawn.

Back when I was in school, having your pencils ready was a big deal. If you didn't, the teacher would've told you you should've. And you had plenty of time before class, so you could've. And they were no-nonsense back in those days, so you should've known. Past experience would've told you that. You could've predicted what would've happened.

We needed them for all kinds of work. Like the basic skills tests. On those we definitely should've known, since they came up every year like clockwork. I hated those tests, but if I had it to do over again I would've done better. I could've too, but I was a lazy kid. Now, I would've tried for the right answer, as every student should've done. But I just filled in blanks at random. I never thought I would've admitted that, but it's been years.

They made a big deal out of it, as well they should've. But they never really impressed the seriousness on me, like possibly they could've. And I'm thinking if they would've that I would've done a better job. But they should've known, when I'm just sitting there filling in blanks. They could've seen at least one kid didn't care. It seems like if they were smart they would've seen that.

Back to the pencils. They made a big deal out of the pencil you used. The computer would've spit out your answers if you would've used the wrong kind of pencil. I could've recited the instructions word for word. I should've known the instructions, having heard them enough! They should've had a computer that wasn't so picky. But who knows if they could've? They were so smart, right? So they should've? It's funny that they would've put the burden on us kids.

I had an interesting way of filling them in. A, B, C, D, E. Then skip to C, then E, then B, etc. You would've thought this would've been a more reliable system. But I should've known, because of course they would've been trickier than a kid. As stupid as I appeared on the tests, I could've been held back all my life. I could've been put back to kindergarten. Who knew I would've ended up in the bottom 5% nationwide?

Certain things I really cared about. If only this could've made a difference. One thing, having the exact right pencil I should've had. I cared. And having two of them sharpened. If they gave an A for that, I would've passed with flying colors. If only I could've gotten credit for that!

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