Tolerant? Me?

I am not a very tolerant person, by most people's standards at least. I view myself, however, as the complete opposite. It may surprise you all to find out that I am actually an extremely tolerant person. Out of all of the things that annoy me – and trust me, there are a lot – I react to relatively little. There are just many, many things that annoy me.

Something that has recently began to annoy me, is the conditioning I have undergone by spending too much time with my father. My father is a deeply sarcastic person, who takes joy in mocking people for whatever stupid statements they make. Survival at the dinner table in my house is based off how quickly you can move to defend yourself, how you can turn other's statements against them; each mealtime is a round of verbal sparring.

So, when I came back from Christmas break, I had morphed into something of a smart-aleck.

Unfortunately, I chose the wrong class to embrace this side of mine. I chose Mme Dhand's French class. For those of you that know Mme Dhand, you will know that she is not the type of person who suffers smart-alecks, especially not teenage smart-alecks.

It was during a lesson on a rather complex grammar point that I asked a question concerning the position of direct object pronoun, and Mme Dhand replied back with the rather typical, "Well, what do you think?" response.

I can remember a slight hint of petulance entering my voice as I replied.

"But I asked you the question."

The glare I was fixed by made me want to shrink into my seat. Mme Dhand raised her eyebrows, as if challenging me, her eyes flicking to my infamous hair as she did so and I felt my cheeks heat up. I resolved myself to keep quiet for the rest of the lesson. Of course, I failed.

Mme Dhand went on, using hyperbole to emphasise her point.

"The direct object pronoun always goes in front of the first infinitive," she declared. "You can have sixty-four infinitives in a sentence…"

That statement, in my mind, was just begging for a response. Without thinking, I opened my mouth and said one word, my tone sceptical:


Another glare, another challenging look. I sunk further into my chair, the entire class laughing around me. My face flushed red and I resolved, truly, that I wouldn't say anything further that lesson. I think I managed to keep this promise.

After that lesson, I was saddled with an extra homework: to write a sentence with sixty-four infinitives in it. Irony doesn't even cut it.

I don't dislike my smart-alecky nature. It has, in fact, saved me from many painful situations, such as explaining to my father how I knew what the probability of the compost bin spontaneously combusting was (in case any of you are wondering, it's roughly the same as it transforming into an ice-cream sundae). What I dislike, is not my smart-alecky nature, but the trouble it gets me into.

My various family members take immense pleasure in warning me of the potential danger I face because of this. "You be very, very careful," is a common warning I seem to hear almost every day.

For example, informing your scout leader that you don't need lessons on how to aim a gun because your aim was just fine and dandy when you shot your ex-boyfriend – the cheating scumbag – is not a good idea, especially when he doesn't quite understand sarcasm. Or, when he takes the gun away from you, telling him that you were joking; you didn't just shoot him, you shot the girl he was cheating on you with too.

Being a smart-aleck is an extremely dangerous past-time. A lot of people do not find it funny. I used to hate smart-alecks, but when I realised I wasn't going to escape them and was in grave danger of becoming one myself, I added them to the list of things I tolerate. I am, after all, a very tolerant person.

© 2013 Mari Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

This is a speech I delivered for English class. It caused my entire class to fall about laughing and someone to ask me if I did, in fact shoot my ex-boyfriend. The answer, in case you were wondering, is no. Everything in this is, in fact, true. This is mostly just posted to keep me happy during the start of exams after I screwed up my French oral today. :(

Rebel Maru over and out.