One of my favorite pieces of writing is four sentences long. It’s the statement General Dwight Eisenhower drafted in the event D-Day ended in defeat:
Our landings in the Cherbourg-Havre area have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack at this time and place was based upon the best information available. The troops, the air, and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone.
This noble declaration came to mind as I studied for the exams to become an elementary teacher in Massachusetts. I wondered how I should explain if I did not pass. And I still do, because I won’t learn until March 18.
You may be wondering how delusional one must be to compare failing a test to failing to liberate Western Europe. I think what you’re really asking, though, is an estimation question, and the answer would be best expressed using scientific notation. Hitting the books has hugely improved my math skills, you see.
Having been credentialed as an elementary teacher already—years ago, in a neighboring state I will identify only...