I forget the exact circumstances. I do, however, remember the feeling of humiliation and embarrassment.
I had made a crossword puzzle for my 5th grade classmates. I was moderately proud of my creation and, as copies were distributed to my peers, ready to savor the accomplishment.
But, I did not expect what came next…
As the class began to solve the puzzle there started a bit of a ruckus. There was laughter and an absurd allegation that I had misspelled one of my words.
I thought as my face flushed.
How could I have made a mistake so basic?
They had to be wrong…
But, as I examined the evidence, my initial denial was soon replaced by dismay, and my heart sank weighted down by the reality: I had misspelled a word. The entire puzzle was irreconcilable for those who knew correct spelling and I was an imbecile.
It was something awful. My lack of proper editing (still a weakness) had made me a laughingstock and I was absolutely devastated. I wanted to crawl under a rock to get away from the cackling in the room. But there was no escape and no recourse.
What I had hoped to be a moment of satisfaction was now a nightmarish reality of abject failure. I couldn’t hold it in. Emotions overcame me in the study hall period after and I began to cry.
Mr Berger, the shop teacher, was my comfort that day as I sobbed my pain and disappointment. I’m not sure if he said much, but I know that I felt his empathy and understanding.
My terrible mistake probably mattered very little to him. The condemnation and ridicule faded in importance. His love remained.