Vinnie’s World ~ Vinnie’s Convinced Adults are not Bright


I turn my test over and pretend I am checking my answers. There are twenty questions. I’m sure I got eighteen right, maybe I got all of them right.

Mrs. Navis says, “Time’s up, children. Pass your tests to the front of your row.” Honestly, her voice sounds like a dentist drill. It goes right through me.

Bobby Patterson is almost as smart as me. He sits in the last seat in my row. That’s two seats behind me. When I get his paper. I looked at his answers. My first thought, Bobby’s in trouble. He got at least four wrong. His parents are going to go nuts. Bobby chews his nails. I’d prefer gum. I have a package of gum in my homework folder. I think I might sneak a piece out to celebrate my excellent work.

Mrs. Navis collects all the papers and places the pile on the corner of her desk. She says, “Dr. Crossman, our principal, needs your help. Someone in school is drawing skull and crossbones on notices on the bulletin board. If you’ve seen anyone doing this please tell me during recess.”

This is what I mean when I say adults are not too bright. Mrs. Navis proves my point. What kid is going to rat out another kid? Okay, I know a couple. I raise my hand.

“What is it Vincent?” says Mrs. Navis.

“If I see an adult drawing the skull and crossbones on Dr. Crossman should I report it?”

“Did you see an adult doing the drawing?” Mrs. Navis asks.

“No. I was just wondering if I can report a teacher,” I say. The class laughs. Mrs. Navis turns red. 

“That’s not funny, Vincent,” says Mrs. Navis.

“I wasn’t trying to be funny, Mrs. Navis. I can’t think of any kid who would do such a thing. That leaves only adults,” I say.

“That’s enough, Vincent. Everyone take out Toby’s Uncled.  Read chapter nine. I know you’ll love it. I will correct your math tests while you read.”

Honestly. This book is boring with a capital B. Like I care about Toby’s uncle who is supposed to be a science whiz. Mrs. Navis is only tricking us to read and study science. I want to read some science fiction. I want to read a comic book filled with my favorite action heroes. I’ll read anything but Toby’s Uncle. I know I have to read it. She’ll call on me. She always does. I’m very good at reading. I’m in the top group. I’ll hurry through the chapter, then pull out some paper and draw a picture of Dr. Crossman. On the way out of school, I’ll accidentally drop it on the floor by her office. 

I caught Mrs. Navis looking at me. I smile at her. I imagine she is pleased with my math test. Not every one is as smart as me. I finish drawing Dr. Crossman’s picture. I really did a good job. I got her brown and blonde hair right. A slight problem, her face looks more like a horse than a human. I put her name over the photo so there won’t be any mistaken identity. I put Dr. Crossman’s picture in my homework folder. 

 I look at the clock on the wall. Only thirty minutes until I get out of jail. We’ll talk about Toby’s Uncle for twenty minutes, then it will be the end of the day. Dr. Crossman will do announcements. I never listen to these. Mrs. Navis will tell us to make sure our desks are neat. 

This proves I’m smart. 

The first question Mrs. Navis asks. “Vincent, where did Toby and his Uncle go and what were they planning to do?”

Mrs. Navis is famous for tossing out double questions. I was ready, I say, “They went to Latrobia Swamp to search for signs of extra terrestrials.” I answer both questions in a single sentence. I want to keep it simple for Mrs. Navis.

“Very good, Vincent,” she says. Mrs. Navis went around the room asking dumb questions about the chapter. I was free from her clutches. I’m sure she’ll tell Mom how I was spot on for reading.

Dr. Crossman makes the afternoon announcements. She finishes by saying, “Don’t forget your homework folders, children. We all had a very good day, tomorrow will be even better.”

I think the announcements would be more interesting if Dr. Crossman gave away coupons for a free ice cream cone, taco, or burger. I might pay attention. 

Mrs. Navis dismisses the class. When I go into the hall, Mom is standing outside the door. I say, “Hi, Mom. I aced the math test.”

Mom knew better than to hug me in the hall. Third grade boys do not like mom hugs in school hallways. Mom will do it anyway. I act quickly. I say, “I’ll wait on the playground for you.”

“Do I get a hug?” asked Mom.

“Aah, Mom. Not now, please,” I beg.

“Okay. I’m sure it won’t be long.”

I left Mom and walked toward Dr. Crossman’s office. I saw Billy Johnson in front of me. I called to him, “Billy, wait up. I’ve got to show you something.”


Vinnie’s World ~ Vinnie’s Convinced Cramming Is The Best Way to Study



Our school lockers are in the hall outside the classroom. I have to leave my backpack, coat if it is cold and lunch if I bring it in my locker. We can only bring in our homework folders into class. If you bring a cell phone, Mrs. Navis will take it away and your parents have to come to school to get it back. 

I walk in the classroom pretending nothing is bothering me and I am confident about the math test. Mrs. Navis is busy at her desk. I walk up to her and say, “Good morning, Mrs. Navis. You really look nice today.” 

I keep my fingers crossed under my homework folder because Mrs. Navis never looks nice. 

Mrs. Navis looks up at me, I think she’s cross eyed. She says, “Are you prepared for your math test, Vincent?”

How do you like that, she didn’t even say thank you for the compliment I paid her. They should teach teachers to be polite. I say, “I studied until Mom made me turn off the light.”

I don’t know why Mrs. Navis always gives me a look that says, ‘I don’t believe you.’ Okay, so I stretched the truth a little. I am trying to remember what she taught, but I think my brain is playing on a different app. I really am pretty smart. 

Mrs. Navis told Mom at a parent teacher conference that I was too smart for my own good. She said things come too easy to me. Mom came home and told me to study more. When Mom told me what Mrs. Navis said, I said, “Mom, how can I be too smart?”

Bad move on my part. Mom went on and on explaining what Mrs. Navis meant. I didn’t listen to Mom. I smiled and made eye contact and kept nodding. All the while I was thinking of a skateboarding trick I was going to try. I think I might want to be an actor when I grow up.

I turned from Mrs. Navis and walked to my desk. I sit down and take out my sat at my math notebook. I review the problems we had for homework. I look at the practice sheets we did in class. I think this is what college students call cramming. By the time I get to college, I will be an expert at cramming. It makes sense. Why waste play time studying when you can cram it all in right before a test?

My cramming is interrupted by Mrs. Navis’ voice. I think she has a cold. I hope she goes home sick. No luck. She put a cough drop in her mouth and says, “Children, put away your study sheets. Get your pencils out. I’m going to pass out the math tests to you. Do not start working on them until I tell you to begin. Now, do your own work. Do not look at your neighbor’s work.”

This is where I get confused. At least three times a day, Mrs. Navis tells us how important it is to cooperate with each other, now she is telling us not to cooperate with each other. Adults don’t know what they are talking about. No wonder so many kids have problems. I looked to my right and smile at Sheila. I look to my left and see Jeffrey chewing his fingernails. Poor guy, his parents want him to go to Harvard. All he does is read and study. A fun summer for him is math camp. I wouldn’t trade families with Jeffrey for anything.

I fold my hands and smile. I’m giving Mrs. Navis the impression I’m ready for the test. Actually, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. Michelle, in front of me, turns and passes me my copy of the test. 

I said, “Good luck, Michelle.” She sticks her tongue out at me. I think she’s still mad at me for writing a note to her telling her she was cute. I signed the note Toby. Sheila saw me put the note on Michelle’s desk and ratted on me. I had to miss recess and write two-hundred times, I will not pass notes. 

Mrs. Navis spoke, “Children you have twenty minutes for your test. When you are finished, raise your hand and I will come by and collect your test.”

I decided not to finish the test until Mrs. Navis says there is only one minute to go. If I finish too soon, she’ll correct right away. There are twenty problems. The first question is easy: What number is the same as two hundred fifty-five? A. 245 B. 255 C. 542 D. 452.  The second question is even easier. Which number is made up of 6 hundreds 8 tens and 4 ones? A. 644 B. 684 C. 468 D. 846. They got tougher after that. Mrs. Navis made them all multiple guess. That made it a lot easier for me. I finished in ten minutes. I’m too smart for my own good so I decided I didn’t need to go over my test and check my answers. I turned my test over and put my pencil on top of it. I sat up with good posture. Mrs. Navis is always telling us sit up straight. I hope she tells Mom I have good posture. Good posture has to count for something.

I was thinking about climbing the big oak tree in back of the house when I hear the voice of doom, “Vincent, have you completed your test?”

I look up, “Yes, Mrs. Navis. I going to review it for the third time in just a moment. Mom is always telling Dad how important it is to clear your mind. That’s what I was trying to do.”

“You only have two minutes, Vincent. When are you going to check it?”

“I’m really, very good at math, Mrs. Navis. As soon as you walk away, I’m on it,” I say. I amaze myself how I can make this stuff up on the spot.

“Well, okay,” she says and turns around. Then she says, “One more minute.”