Day 30: An Excerpt From a More Personal Writing

Or, I Forgot to Write Something that Resembled a Real Post But Had This On Hand

A few days ago Marcus asked me to write something for a school assignment. He was to find people to describe three specific situations in which he was his absolute best, and these people are to describe these situations in as much detail as possible. As this posting, I have written two of the three–both of which I found worthy of posting–and I’m at about 775 words. I have no idea how long these are supposed to be, but I hope his professor is looking forward to something pushing 1200.


[Disclaimer: The author makes no guarantee that the specifics of the story are accurate. The underlying principals, however, are.]

#1) January 2013. West Grove, PA.
“Is taking an AP Test without taking a class on it a thing?”
“Uhh sure? I don’t see why not.”
“Okay good. About half of the Micro-econ test is ‘basic economic principals,’ which we did for like two months in macro.”
“Oh word. That sounds like a pretty doable test.”

A dialogue similar to that is most likely how Marcus and I found ourselves taking on an AP test through self study.

I don’t know for sure what other AP tests Marcus was preparing for, but I know that between the endless piles of chemistry and English language practice exams and free response sheets, I completely forgot about the Micro exam until a week before I had to take it. I’m reasonably sure Marcus did the same.

Armed with a Princeton Review economics book, a notebook, quite a few pencils, and a youtube playlist full of five-minute econ lessons, I started studying five days before the exam–but this isn’t about me. I don’t know how Marcus chose to study, but I do know that he started a measly three (four?) days before the exam. Three. Days.

Let me put that into context. For chemistry and english, we had been regularly doing practice exams for at least six weeks before the exam. There were many headaches, tears, and frustrations.

And this dude has the balls (synonym?) to prepare half an exam in three days.

Excluding the raw intelligence needed to get that much information down, that’s some serious planning, determination, focus, or a combination of all three! And that is where Marcus shined. My only adequate comparison is the time I put in. As the Econ tests are toward the end of the testing period, I had five days to do this all day. And it sucked. I was proud of what I had managed, and no matter what my ego says, I was completely one-upped by how much work and intensity Marcus showed.

We both earned 4s.

#2) November 2013. Hershey, PA.
I’m breaking the rules a little bit–this is not the specific instance of Marcus being his best, but the specific instance where I fully realized the sum of great actions.

As per usual, the trombone section led the band toward the entrance gate of Hershey stadium, nearly every member performing the section’s signature swagger step. When the band arrived at the gate, there was the usual flood of tears and final pep talk that accompanied the end of every season.

While someone was talking–I have no idea who–I took a minute to appreciate the diverse and rag-tag group of goof-offs that had become the powerhouse that constantly pushed the band to strive for the next level of achievement. We ranged from the supreme bandos, people who were in it for the social experience, the thuggest white person I know, the guy who raps on the side, Layla who defied categorization, the guy who thought he knew it all but couldn’t teach, and Marcus.

Again, what stood out about Marcus in this categorization is the contrast to myself. The two very different people that made up the duo that helped that section grow.

To set up the contrast: the duo has the marcher and the musician, the drill sergeant and the teacher. Want to guess who was which? I hope you guessed that Marcus was the musician.

To see the greatness we also have to contrast teaching styles: one did much of the yelling, made the section run laps, and had the “I already gave you the information why can’t you do it?” attitude; the other gave quieter instruction that was defined by compassionate teaching and the desire for every member of the section to understand the basic principals of brass playing. I think that you know who is who.

This teaching was so much different than my own and it clearly appealed to the rest of the section more. While they could relate to my style on a logical basis and could respond by simply listening and applying information on the next rep, they didn’t always respond like I was a real teacher distributing high quality information. They did respond that way to Marcus. This is something I am jealous of, but I am extremely glad that his ability to teach and lead the section was so consistently high quality.

To be fair, we both led our share of impromptu ab workouts during water breaks.

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