When I was a wee lass, just entering formal education, after graduating from eating paste, my teacher thought there was something wrong with me. There was, of course, but not what she was reckoning.
When given a writing implement for the first time, I wrote things backwards; like REDRUM backwards, except I would surmise I had no inclination towards murder just yet and it wasn’t the whole word that was backwards, but certain letters, particularly the ones in my own name.
In the playdough, homogenizing machine that is public education I would imagine that they don’t have too many resources to devote towards figuring out every child’s particular learning abilities, or lack thereof, so my teacher tattled to the principal who, in turn, put me into a special education class.
The special education class consisted of children who could not refrain from banging their heads against walls, shitting themselves or crying out statements akin to those that deranged mental patients would make, and me. I believe that one of them was busy making a tinfoil hat. There I sat in the same room all day with the craziest of the crazy and the dimmest bulbs in the bunch. If not for my mom, I might have stayed there forever eating paste and shitting myself.
My mother grew up in an era when children were all squished into the same mold; churning out student after student whose aspirations, if they were male, were to be President, and if they were female, to be homemakers. There was a right way and a wrong way, and the left hand was most definitely the wrong way.
My mom is severely left-handed to the point that her right hand is practically useless for anything requiring precision. Her teachers tried and tried to force her to be right handed, but she was so inept at it, that eventually, they just let her be; alone in her backwards world.
Given this, my mom had an inkling as to what my special needs might have been. One day, I was sitting at the little table building a complicated mathematical algorithm in three-dimensions with blocks, when my mother, the principal and the teacher walked over, and stood before my lowly perch.
Mom placed a sheet of paper on the table and handed me a crayon. I took it with my right hand. She took it out of my right hand and put it into my left. “Now, write your name,” she gently encouraged.
I put the crayon to paper, wrote my name, and voila, I was no longer special. All of the letters came out in the proper order the way they should have and at five times the speed. Fuming, with an “I told you so” look on her face, my mom took me by the hand and led me away from my private hell, never to return again.