Brat Girl Blues — Part 3
A mini-memoir story [23/52*]
“Fifteen percent of two-hundred and thirty,” he barked at me.
“Thirty-four and a half,” I answered, almost immediately. He paused, nodded his head, and stood up straighter.
“Seven percent of one-hundred-twenty three.”
“Eight point six one,” I answered, almost as quickly. Mr. Blanks looked a little less certain about this while I was feeling a lot less nervous. My god, Millie was smiling at me… and I was right back to nervous panic.
“Sixty-three percent of one-thousand-twelve.”
“Ah… Six-hundred and… thirty-seven point five six,” I said slowly, as I added it up, the stakes having risen greatly.
“How are you doing that?” a girl in the front row asked, face scrunched like Gordon Ramsey asking after lamb sauce. I now had all eyes on me and a nauseatingly tense silence blanketing the room. I’m no mathematician, no where even close. I didn’t even really like math. This, however, was quite simple to me and I could not understand why it was difficult for anyone else.
“You figure 100%, 50%, 10%, 5%, 1% — there’s barely even any math there — then just add the pieces together.
“For example: Sixty-three percent of one-thousand-twelve: 63 is 50+10+1+1+1. 50% is half of 1012, 506; 10%, just move the decimal one place over, 101.2; 1%-move it twice, 10.12, and it’s dead simple to just triple that 1% real quick to 10x3 and 12x3 for 30.36.
“506 + 101.2 + 30.36 = 637.56, it’s not difficult.” A wall of blank looks. I might as well have been Merlin the fucking Magician.
The questioning girl in the front row looked like she might be having a stroke. Millie was looking at me and she wasn’t smiling, not at first. I had no idea what her expression meant. After a moment of eye contact she grinned and looked down at her book.
Oh my god, this was it! My John Hughes moment!
“That’s not the way I’m teaching you to do it,” Mr. Blanks said, and then turned to address he class. “In your text book, page 112, you’ll see — ”
“But it’s better — ” I mentally slapped myself as the words were still being uttered, but I was too late to stop them. So much for my John Hughes moment. I had forgotten I was up there as the example. The entire point of calling me out was to embarrass me and show the class what happens to students who don’t pay attention. It backfired on him, but that did not negate his original intent to one-up me which he did by ejecting me from his classroom.
I had to sit outside the principal’s office until he had time to deal with me. When that time came, I was expected to tell Mr. Lee what I had done to get sent to his office. I thought that was a really stupid way to do things, so when Mr. Lee asked, I told him bluntly.
“Mr. Blanks told me to figure percentages in front of the class and then kicked me out for doing them faster than he could… and for doing them in my head.” Mr. Lee just looked at me for a moment. I believe my only saving grace was that my answer may have amused him slightly.
“Get out,” he said, with half an eye-roll.