Friday, March 23, 2018

I Dropped Out of School (In Kindergarten)

I dropped out of school at a young age.

Five. I dropped out of school at the age of five. Yes, I was a kindergarten dropout.

Truth be told, it wasn't really my choice. My Mom pulled me out of kindergarten fairly early in the year. I'm not really sure why she did it, and, after all of these years Mom doesn't remember why she did it, either. (It was a long, long time ago.) (In a land far, far away.)

I called and asked her, and Mom has no clue as to why she pulled me out of kindergarten. Looking back she thinks, "it must have been something with the teacher or the kids," but I don't think so. I don't recall anyone having any problems with the teacher, whose name was Mrs. Quam, or Mrs. Quom, or Mrs. Cuam, or, as most of the kids probably called her, "Teacher, Teacher, Teacher, Teacher!!!"

And I don't think I had any problems with any of the kids, either. I was pretty easy going back then, and either got along with or was ignored by most other kids.

No, I think the reason why Mom pulled me out of kindergarten was because she missed me. I was her youngest kid, and with me gone from the house it was awfully quiet and lonely. But, that's just my theory. It happened so long ago that no one really knows anymore.

Being a kindergarten dropout didn't hurt me academically. While the other kids were doing their finger paintings and learning the alphabet, I was reading with Mom and doing advanced arithmetic. (Okay, not really advanced, but stuff that was more difficult than the kids were doing in kindergarten.) (I was keeping score in skee-ball bowling, doing equations like 46+7=53, which is pretty advanced for a kindergartener.)

No, where being a kindergarten dropout hurt me was in the social aspect of school. Up until that time, I was a normal kid, with normal social interactions, and a normal(-ish) group of friends. Heck, I was even pretty darn good-looking!

Now, that is a handsome young man!
(And that's my 1st Grade picture. I would have been even more handsome in kindergarten.)

But, I think that missing out on kindergarten put a damper on my social development. By not kicking back with the other kids, drinking chocolate milk and comparing our coloring papers, I missed out on something. As I kept advancing in school, I kept falling farther and farther behind socially, to the point that when I got to junior high and high school, I could barely even talk to girls.

They say, "All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten." (Someone even wrote a book about it.) Well, I wasn't at kindergarten. I was a dropout. So, there was a lot of stuff I really needed to know that I didn't learn. Because I was a kindergarten dropout.

I sometimes wonder how differently my life would have turned out if I hadn't been a kindergarten dropout. Perhaps, instead of being a socially inept nerd, I would have been well-liked and popular. My confidence would have been boosted. With higher confidence, I would have been a better athlete. I would have gotten an athletic scholarship to a top university. I would have excelled in my studies. I would have graduated college with honors. I would have set up a successful dental practice, and spent the rest of my life looking into the mouths of all kinds of people. People with bad breath.

Instead, my Mom forced me to become a kindergarten dropout. I became socially awkward. I struggled through college, then drifted aimlessly for many, many years. And then, through some amazing stroke of fortune, I met a wonderful woman, got married, and had four beautiful and fantastic children.

So, to sum up, if I had gone to kindergarten, I would be spending all my time picking at other people's teeth. But, because I am a kindergarten dropout, I'm married to a wonderful woman, have some great kids, and get to write about donuts all day.

Thanks, Mom!

Edited from a post originally published on 4/26/16.

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