Are you good at what you do? What would you like to be better at?
Remember the old-fashioned report cards we got back in the fifties? There was always a “citizenship” side, and you could get marks for things like”gets along well with others” or “keeps desk neat and organized.” Those marks ranged from Excellent to Satisfactory to Needs Improvement. I was a pretty good kid, usually got “E” on that side of my card. I loved school, looked forward to it every day until I hit physics and chemistry in high school. Then, not so much.
Anyway, in thinking about what I’m good at, I have to say that at my age I’m pretty clearly aware of both my strengths and my weaknesses, and have come to accept them for the most part. That’s not to say I can’t improve. We can always improve. But the fact is, I’ll never be a rocket scientist. Shoot, I’ll never be any kind of scientist, lab technician, or anything else that requires accuracy in numbers. Just isn’t my strength. And I’m fine with that. Would I like to be better at numbers? Sure. It’s frustrating to make errors when you understand the process but just can’t seem to put down the correct numbers. For example, I used to erase holes in my paper doing long division in sixth grade. We always had to check our work, and I’d always realize I’d done it again. I’d be dividing 286, for instance, by, say, 14. And I would end up putting 14 above the 286. Really. You have no idea how frustrating that is. Once, later in life, I put the number of the check I was writing in the amount column, and the amount in the space for the check number. Sigh.
I’m happy to say I recently learned there is a name for my problem. I used to call it “math dyslexia” but it really is called dyscalcula. Isn’t that nice? I really can’t help it. It’s not my fault 🙂
And I have to say here that the advent of calculators really didn’t help much. You have to punch in the right numbers. I’d see 482 and punch in 284. Crazy-making.
Okay, so what am I good at? Anything word-related. Word games, word puzzles. Reading, writing, speaking, teaching, comprehending. Words are my thing. I love learning new ones, learning the meanings of words and what the etymology is.
Here’s one I learned not too long ago. My husband got shingles. My then-eight-year-old grandson asked why it’s called shingles, so of course I had to look it up. Comes from the Latin word for belt or girdle, cingulus, which of course was worn around the waist. Shingles often shows up on one’s back right at the waistline, circling around the body as it progresses. So shingles is just a corruption of cingulus.
Aren’t you glad you know that? Now you can impress all your friends. Or, if you’re in the habit of showing off these rare bits of trivia, maybe they’ll throw things at you as you rush out of the room.