The Managed Outcome



Science at Saltonstall was by the book.  No scientific equipment that is.  A periodic table on a drop down roll at the front of the class, maybe, or some models of sorts, but mainly we had our desks and our books.  No scientific discipline was covered in depth, everything was touched on in general.   A smattering really.

Come the end of the year we were all run through an oral competition. It was arranged not unlike a TV show contest in that it was by elimination. If you failed to answer the question you were out. There may have in fact been a “prize” to the winner – the distinction of appearing on a science TV game show.  Why otherwise was the teacher behaving as he was?

Science was not my forte. Probably because my interests ran strongly in another direction.  Still, I was good in math, and could understand the concepts, for the most part. And I think my teacher wanted me to be the winner. Or was it that he had to have a male as victor?

I became suspicious that this was the case, when for the second time I missed the question that should have been the clincher. For it was just me and a girl still in the competition at that point, the cute blonde girl about whom Klaus had been all upset with me. The question asked for the meaning of the abbreviation BTU. The teacher gave me a do over – a scientific mulligan. It was upsetting.  Did he have something against women, or in this case, girls? Was he protecting some male preserve? What was on the line?

Whatever the outcome, I must have blocked it all out, for I don’t remember a thing. I don’t know if I took this win by fiat, or out of pique obstinately gave wrong answers going forward. I was upset about this whole result being manufactured. A scientist shouldn’t function this way, should he? Results are results, one should not manipulate the outcome to one’s own notion of things.

Was it all a conspiracy?