Tongue-Tied on Thursday… And Every Other Day


Kate Wolffe, Staff Writer

Introducing Kate Wolffe, one of Mirador’s new monthly columnists! Her articles are posted on the first Thursday of every month.

“I don’t know.”

For some reason, for Miramonte students, the author of this column included, these three little words symbolize defeat. However, at least once in our lives, we’ve all had to admit the sad truth that we don’t know the answer to a question a teacher has asked. But we’ll do anything to avoid that humiliation, which in our own harsh, self-assessing eyes, is a blatant admission that we haven’t tried hard enough, studied enough material, or bench pressed enough small children. We’ve all experienced those few terrifying seconds in class when time seems to slow down as you stumble for an answer under the scrutiny of ones peers and teacher.

Consider this familiar situation: Perhaps some miraculous twist of fate has led your teacher to decide to collect the homework at the end of the period. Between intervals of nonchalantly straining to copy your neighbor’s work and just scribbling random answers, you completely miss the question your teacher asks the class to think about. As if he smells the potent scent of your inadequate knowledge, he directs his steely, I-eat-kittens-for-breakfast gaze on you. Yes, you, the very person who has just finished writing the lyrics of the new JBiebs down as an analysis of Catherine the Great’s reforms.

Maybe you should just keep looking down, just keep looking down, maybe if he thinks you haven’t heard, he’ll ask someone else. But let’s be honest here, when has that ever worked? Okay, slowly look up contemplatively, maybe someone will feel your pain and subtly mouth the answer, that always works, and besides, this class if full friendly people. Well, maybe not.

Looking up might put you on the defensive.  Oh look at this, you’re all sneering at me with your little condescending smirks and your hands half-raised just waiting for me to flounder under the pressure. You don’t get to judge me for doing the homework in class! You don’t know what I was doing last night! I could’ve been working to save baby pandas from the cruelties of littering. Although, if I was watching clips of Bradley Cooper speaking French, that doesn’t make me any less of a person. But if I don’t talk about how sensuous and come hither his voice sounds with that beautiful language coming out of his perfectly kissable lips, it’s like he never even spoke. LIKE HE NEVER EVEN SPOKE. So just stop tearing me apart with your beady little eyes, you judgmental vultures.

Okay, calm down, calm down. Check your notes, there must be something you can use to break the tension:

… a doodle of a seal, nope

… a love letter to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, though one of my better ones, no

…  an evacuation plan for if I’m ever stuck in the girl’s bathroom during a natural disaster, and all the entrances are blocked off, definitely not

… another doodle of a seal…


Speak. If there ever was one, now would be the time to say something. If you really have to say it, tack on a nerdy Harry Potter reference at the end. That way, all is not completely lost.

“I don’t know, Professor, I think Hermione does, though, why don’t you try asking her?”