100 pages

Tell us about a personal quality, talent, accomplishment, contribution or experience that is important to you. What about this quality or accomplishment makes you proud and how does it relate to the person you are?

Homework was the catch to summer break. In middle school, it was all too common. We had two school-free months to do 100 pages of a math workbook. Back in middle school, I was quite confident in myself, so made a bet with a friend: if I finished the pages within one day, I’d win, and if I didn’t, he’d win. The prize? The loser had to give the winner one crisp American dollar bill. What I didn’t know was that I’d earn much more than a candy bar’s worth of paper.

That night I slept with a cocky grin and dollar-sign eyes. The next morning came and my excitement, which was once a rushing creek, dried to a desert. I was 15 - how could I be excited about math work the first day of vacation? All I wanted was it to be over. Like getting into an icy swimming pool or ripping off a Band-Aid, it had to be done soon and fast, before my excitement turned into a barren wasteland.

When I opened the workbook I gazed upon simple math: adding and subtracting. The grin returned. As I zoomed through the first 30 or so pages, I felt stupendous; a thunderous feeling, like I was the smartest man in the world! I could control the stars and moons, the celestial heavens themselves! Then came long division.

What evil mind would create such a task? It was...

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