A couple days ago, I got back a math quiz. I’d taken it later than the rest of the class because I’d been out of town when they took it. Another boy, D., had also taken the quiz after the rest of the class, so we got our quizzes back at the same time.
“Man, I did so horribly on this test,” he confided.
“Yeah, me too,” I replied, which was the truth. I could not remember the shell method of volume integration during the quiz, and of course there was a problem that required dear old shell.
“Well, I bet I did worse than you,” he shot back. I raised my eyebrows.
And as we started arguing over who had the worse grade, I couldn’t help but think, why am I arguing over who is the more mediocre? I dislike people who hide their own intelligence, but here I was, doing the same. I could have said, No, D., you’re really smart. I’m sure your grade is fine, instead of engaging in this silly argument.
At any case, he finally ended our discussion. “Hey, let’s bet a dollar. Whoever has the worse grade gets it.”
“Sure,” I agreed.
Obviously, I did worse on the test. And because of my mundaneness, my lack of math smarts, I got a dollar. In America, being the same, not being exceptional pays off.