On the second day of grade nine I said a big word in Geography class. And this kid Josh Weiner (not a pseudonym) leaned over and whispered, “Holy cow, how old are you?”
I was 14, so of course I said, “Twenty-four.”
I thought it was obvious I was kidding, but he looked really impressed and said, “What the hell are you doing in grade nine?!”
I told him that I was really from Iran and came to Canada when I was 14, and when I arrived I didn’t know any English. So they started me in Junior Kindergarten; I gradually learned the language, and now it had been 10 years of Canadian education and here I was starting high school at 24. As I neared the end of this improvised absurdity, I was very pleased to note that somehow the math all worked out and there were no holes in my story.
Luckily Josh didn’t question me, because I didn’t know a single thing about Iran; I’m not sure I could even have named the capital city at that point. (That was why I needed to be in a Geography class.)
His only remaining question was why I looked so young, to which I breezily replied, “Oh, I use Oil of Olay.”
I was pretty sure by then he knew I was full of it, but the next day some other kid excitedly told me that “There’s a 24-year old in Josh Weiner’s Geography class!”
That was a satisfying moment.