It’s odd how something that is completely unrelated to something else can still trigger those memories in my mind. For instance, I was listening to Rod Stewart this morning (The Motown Song) and it made me think about Pepsi. Of course the song is all about hanging out and listening to old records to set the mood. It has nothing to do with Pepsi, but follow my logic…
When I was in high school I worked on a mushroom farm. It was 1991, so the song was on the radio a lot, and we listened to it while we worked. That song will forever be indelibly linked to mushrooms, fertilizer, heat, Losing My Religion, and Diet Coke soda. The mushrooms, fertilizer, and heat were related to the boxes we were packing to ship off to people trying to grow mushrooms, the song was another big one in the rotation on the one radio station we listened to, and the Diet Coke was what our boss let us have when we were in some downtime. As I can’t stand Coke, my mind instead goes to Pepsi when I hear the song, as it did this morning.
That happens a lot to me since my mind is always going a mile a minute, and I pretty much dare people to keep up, to trace back my brain’s journey to get to the bizarre destination. In fact, it has gone on so long that it has become sort of a game for me to even figure out my own logic and connections, a variation on the six degrees of separation, but internal instead of external. It’s why a pair of blue jeans reminds me of Von Hayes, why a kid on a bicycle brings back memories of the Empire State Building, and why Fred Flintstone saying “Yabba Dabba Doo!” inspires me to do the Humpty Dance.
So, I think about 900, and what comes to mind are the SATs, you know, the exams that are supposed to test your potential ability. I recently found out that the newly revised (again) SATs will feature a return to a 1600 perfect score, so I will theoretically be able to compare my score with my daughter’s score when she takes the test in 8 years. Back in my day, the math score had a ceiling of 800, and the verbal score was the same. Usually people did a lot better on one or the other, but the score to look at was 900. Most schools would accept you if you scored a 900, so it was what you strove for, right?
I remember doing some SAT prep about a month before the exam and hearing someone say that bit about trying to get a 900, and it made me upset. I mean, why go for the absolute minimum that will get you admitted to just any old college? I wanted to blow 900 out of the water. I had my sights set on the elusive 1600, even if it was unrealistic. I was smart, but you had to be genius level and still have everything work out right to get a 1600. Realistically I should have been aiming for a 1300 or 1400, but I was definitely not looking to achieve a 900.
On the night before the test I couldn’t sleep, though. When I was finally able to pass out, I had this horrendous dream where I woke up late and got to the test just in time to still take it, but so late that I couldn’t possibly finish it. So I filled in bubbles like a maniac to try and at least complete it, which I did just in time. But then I got my score (it was instantaneous, which was the only good part about it) and I had hit 900 on the nose. I was outraged and demanded a retry. But my test was the last one given that year, so I was stuck.
Needless to say, I was pretty wound up when the morning came, even though I got up on time and was at the testing center with plenty of time to spare. That “900” was foremost in my brain, and I kept trying to sweep it away with a broom. Then the test began, and somehow I was able to block out the “900,” the dream, and everyone who told me about it, doing my level best and getting a score of 1260 to show for it. Then it hit me that I was really just taking the test for myself, not for my prospective colleges, that the test was proof that I could weather the storm. If I could do well on that test, I could do well in life. Beating that 900 was validation of a tenuous kind. But it was good enough for me then.
Speaking of validation, this post is #900 for me, an amazing number in its own right, and just as I was proud of my SAT score, I’m so very proud of this blog. It started out as merely a way for me to put my journal online, as a way to force me to write, but it has grown into so much more. So, thank you to everyone who has been along for the journey so far. 900 is truly only the beginning. There are lots of more miles(tones) to come.