Mr. Peevie and I are trying to impress on C. Peevie the importance of getting good grades in high school. He's a good student, but not as good as he has the potential to be.
My colleague Shawty was telling me that her son ShawtySpawn had qualified for a significant scholarship at the private liberal arts college he would be attending in the fall. They received a letter from the financial aid office charting the relationship between grade point average and scholarship amount, and she showed it to me.
"If his grade point average had been .2 higher," she said, "he would have qualified for $4,000 more per year."
"Can I have a copy of that letter?" I asked. "I want to show it to C. Peevie."
So I brought the letter home to use as an object lesson to motivate my gifted but distractable #1 son to kick his academics into high gear.
"Look at this, C. Peevie," I said, thrusting the letter in his face. "This is from my friend Shawty at work. Her son is getting a scholarship, which is great. But if his GPA had been .2 higher, he would have qualified for $4,000 more per year."
I paused for dramatic effect.
"Four thousand dollars per year," I said. "That's twelve THOUSAND dollars."
I waited for the significance to sink in. C. Peevie waited for the part of my brain that does math to catch up.
It didn't catch up.
"Is he only going to school for three years, then?" C. "Smarty-Pants" Peevie asked innocently. It took me a full minute to get it.
"Sixteen THOUSAND dollars!" I corrected myself, but it was too late. "Crap."
"You just ruined your entire point," C. Peevie laughed.
Mr. Peevie was sitting nearby, shaking his head, as he often does when I attempt to do math.
"Did you even go to college?" he asked.
Well, I did, but you don't learn simple multiplication in college. Apparently I was absent that day in third grade.