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Chickadoodle’s guide to getting it wrong

“You’re right.”

One of the most beautiful two-word phrases in the English language, made even more beautiful in that I really don’t hear it very often. Not because I’m rarely right, but because I’m surrounded by brilliant people who are also right a lot of the time, so we just don’t feel the need to acknowledge each other’s correctness.

Being human, though, I do get things wrong. Sometimes, I get things spectacularly wrong. I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t. As my roommate and I are fond of saying, “College is all about experimentation!”

We usually get funny looks because we’re actually not talking about sex or drugs. (Or rock ‘n’ roll, usually. Dubstep, swing, and occasionally pop, though.) Yesterday, I decided to try adding some raspberry flavoring to my vanilla soymilk, just to see how it would taste. (It was excellent.) See, I’m mildly lactose intolerant—enough that I need soymilk, anyway. Cow’s milk does unhappy things to me when I just drink it straight. But soymilk is also tricky for me, because I didn’t have milk for so long (in the past eight years, I’ve had maybe a full 8 fluid ounces that wasn’t cooked/baked into something), so I don’t like the taste. Vanilla soymilk is better, but it does not always mix with whatever food I’m eating, and doubly so if this food happens to be cereal. It’s all a process of trial and error.

Sometimes, it’s a process of “oops, I forgot…”

I like baking. I love baking breakfasts. Even though I’m a morning person, I just shouldn’t do this first thing in the morning sometimes. I’ve had two really spectacular flubs: First, the fail muffins—I forgot to add baking powder, so they were flat and dense. Second, the exploding coffee cake—I doubled the recipe, and tripled the baking powder. That was the day I learned how much of a pain cleaning the oven is. Whoops. Baking might not be an exact science or art—one molecule more than three cups of flour won’t kill it—but there is such a thing as really getting it wrong.

I also had one very spectacular signing flub a few months ago. I was signing with a deaf student, and could not for the life of me remember the sign for “nice”. I could piece together a whole bunch of other sentences and bits of information, but this one simple sign, I could not recall. I wound up having to fingerspell it, my face the very picture of frustrated shame the entire time. (At least that’s one thing I can do well that ASL requires…)

I’ve just sort of learned to laugh at myself, though. It’s really the only thing I can do. If it’s something I need to learn from, I try to get the lesson and move on. Not always before I bury my head under a pillow or yank my sweatshirt hood up over my head or turn bright red (there is a reason—well, two, actually—a high school friend nicknamed me “Thermoman”), but I can laugh at that later, too. Being right all the time is overrated.


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