sir, i write today to tell you a story that i would define as good enough that i ask you not to interrupt me until i’m finished, not because i think you could, but because, and i’m sure you can believe this, i’m not often allowed to speak my mind long enough for anyone to retain any information. so now that we’re clear on that point, your student has a story to tell.
according to myers-briggs, i’m infp. i’m a feeler, not a thinker, but don’t get me wrong, i think more than anyone else i know, just about my feelings. some of my thoughts are simple, ordinary. some of them are, as expected of me, a teenager’s troubles: school, crushes, fighting with friends. in an environment like this every day, i’m bound to succumb to the will of my own young emotion, and i like it that way. but some of my thoughts are complex, confusing for me. they’re so freaking confusing i would probably have to resurrect shakespeare himself to see me in all of my bardolatry and turn my thoughts into something worthy of being analyzed for centuries after my comparably short life. i tell you this only because i am convinced you probably think the same way—you think extremely normal and expected things because you live a normal and expected life. you also probably think extremely complex things that would require a well thought out night of reading the dictionary to put into words understood by the american mind. i also tell you this because you have made me think both ways as most inspirational teachers have—who else can make your average teen worry both about average teen things like unfair grades and say something inspiring enough that they have thoughts worthy of shakespearean translation? this, sir, would probably be one of the reasons i look up to you. and i don’t say that lightly, just as you tell me you do not tell people they’ll do great things lightly.
i write also because you told me i would do great things. i’m sure once i gather these words in a less poetic manner and say them to your face, you’ll be very annoyed with me bringing this up again. i’m sure you thought little of it. but i need you to know that after what is close to a year and a half of basing my decisions on your words, i’m compelled to write that i’ve decided you’re right. just not in the way you were thinking. i think i’ll march. i don’t think i’ll lead a march worthy of thousands. i think i’ll publish a book. i don’t think i’ll be anything close to famous for it. after much reflection, i’ve come to the conclusion that the word great falls under too many ******* definitions. you meant great. as in significant. but i’ll allow myself a touch of narcissism to tell you that i am too intelligent to let myself believe i am in any way special or significant anymore. i am altogether average - but you have to admit, i’m pretty ******* good at making myself look otherwise. i even conned you into thinking i’m something great, as in significant. but i can admit myself that i am a definition of great. i’m great. as in good, in the sense that means i march to make a difference and i publish a book to help the reader who understands what i mean in the lines. i write this because i spend too much ******* time thinking about what i would say if i had the chance. i am great as in good because i have chosen to write this so someday i can make sure the words i’m writing make sense, to you, the person i am writing them to. sir, i realize now that i am no grand philosopher here to make myself into something significant. and you aren’t either—but if you don’t mind me saying, you are one of the best great as in good philosophers i’ve ever met.
you can keep an eye out for me. you may find my initials on any book and you might see me tutoring at the junior high. but i will never turn into something significant. i don’t see that as an important part of being great. my teacher, i see the utmost importance in making myself into something so good that i radiate the feeling of volunteering at the local shelter. anyone can make a difference. i want to make many. thank you for helping me see that i’m capable of it, whether that was your intent or not. i know you probably thought nothing of what you said to me, but you must have realized by now that i’m told often that i’m a disappointment. i won’t let myself be that to you. or anyone else.
in case you were wondering, when you do receive this in a revised email or letter or even a thought out speech, i’m interested in your philosophy.
a boy with an ever changing name(though privately, he really likes arlo as his new first middle name. it’s sophisticated but dumb, like he is)