It seems that Hopkins is scorching all the little darlings in his classes at the moment. Old and decrepit, my butt...which has always been my take on it. He just needs a little WD-40 on the hinges and the rest will take care of itself.
I'm happy about this, primarily because I knew he could do it and I also like being right about this kind of stuff.
The one thing that's bugging him is something I'd forgotten until he raised the point; our old frenemy Nemesis used it against him with relish. On math homework and tests, he always made one minor mistake, just enough to cost a point or two, keeping him from perfect math scores. Nemesis would slither up and hiss in his ear, "I see that you missed the third step on the fourth problem...", et cetera. He'd shoot her a dirty look and try to formulate a retort as she slithered off down the hall. I'd silently plot her death, then show him the ink-bloodied mess that was my math homework to draw out the venom of the barb.
It always bothered me immensely that he was hung up on something between one and five points in math. It bothered me because I knew a) the source of the anxiety and b) the penalty for one to five points and didn't dare contemplate what would happen should the average descend below that. In that regard, our lives were agonizingly similar...
He's still doing it, albeit with a whole lot more self-awareness these days. I swear that I could hear a little good-natured self-mockery in the tone of that e-mail, and I'm starting to think that Success May Spoil Rock Hunter. He was an academic star in our day. That's not my imagination, or exaggeration on my part. He was- and it's been my contention in this little debate that he still is. This was always his comfort zone, and he just needed to prove to himself that he could still do it.
Dean's list? Maybe. Success? Definitely. Failure? Not an option. Not then, not now, not ever.