a male from Tennessee, United States

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"We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. --Churchill"

Jeez! What to tell ... There isn't much. Let's see ... For certain I'm too old, too short, too fat, and too dumb for this website, but I don't seem to be able to stop myself. I feel like a smoker with easy access to tobacco.

Despite having signed up only a few days ago, I can't stop thinking about the fun this place may offer. Like Rudy in the movie, however, I don't really belong on this figurative field. Now, on to what I consider the, "real," question: where in the world did I get the (likely wrong) idea that I could write anything that could be perceived as entertaining?

After 9th grade--the three longest years of my life--I spent my teens and twenties on active duty in the U.S. Navy (and six more years in the Naval Reserve later). In my 30s (told you I was too old), it took me seven years going part-time to earn an AA degree. Technically, it's in history, but I also took a bunch of medical field stuff (biochemestry, microbiology, etc.) for work.

If you're old, they make you take a, "placement test," instead of the ACT or SAT. My inglorious results were, "post-college graduate in writing," and, "couldn't pass middle school algebra." I was suspicious of the writing result.

My Dad is a golf pro, so I wrote my test essay about golf. I figured that my writing test grade was the illegitimate result of one or more of the judges being a golfer ... until I took my first class--English Comp. 1010 in the Spring semester.

A few weeks in, my instructor asked to speak to me after class. Oh no. What had done wrong? Standing in the late January cold just outside the old brick building on campus, she got nose-to-nose with me and told me to quit college.

When I asked why, she said that she had been teaching for a long time, and that she had only seen one other student who had the, "it," thing that makes whatever they write work. She said that she wanted me to try earning money by writing instead of taking classes. Hahahahahahaha!!

She might as well have told me to call the President of the United States and inform him that I should immediately replace the current vice president, or to try out to be the next quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, or that I had a large hieroglyph tattoo on my forehead that was somehow invisible to me. My feelings must have been evident in my body language because she asked, "You're not going to stop going to college are you?"

I would have forgotten the entire thing if other similar episodes had not happened. I took History of Western Civilization the Summer semester after the English class. The instructor's comment about my term paper: "That's the most well organized history paper I've ever read. Good job." I didn't know it at the time, but it established a pattern that would continue. I'd write a paper for a class, the instructor would lavish praise, and I'd go on not believing.

Me? A good writer? Are you drunk? Have you taken too much or too little medication? Surely I'm not. There must be some other explanation for the reactions of my instructors... several other explanations. Something. I can't be a good writer. A good writer would know, right? How could I be a good writer and not ... feel it?

Don't get me wrong. Being told that I have some skill in this arena makes me feel like someone just told me that the pretty girl likes me. It's just that it's too tantalizingly good to be true. So, it must not be. Right?

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