Friday, June 11, 2010

Congratulations, or Not (A true story)

November 2009

Samantha was relaxed, and happy, and there were very few sixteen year old girls who had more right to feel that way than her. She had completed something that had been incredibly difficult, very few girls her age had done it: She had completed the Girl Scout Gold Award, which was the hardest thing she had ever done in her short life. It had been emotionally and physically draining on a level that she had never experienced before. But as she and her mother helped everybody who had made her dream possible clean up, she felt as if an huge load had lifted off of her shoulders. Starting an International Fair had been anything but a walk in the park; there had been time changes, last minute cancellations, and numerous misprints in the newspaper as to the time of the fair.
The night before, Samantha had little sleep, all the planning was over, she had seen with her own eyes the fair begin to take shape in the Riordan Hall auditorium earlier that day, her job was done. Now matter what happened now, she had completed her project for the Girl Scout Gold Award, even if no one showed up to the fair, she was going to get her award.....that's what she kept telling herself, and that's what her mother kept telling her too. However, the thought of an empty auditorium, sent chills down her spin, and rendered her sleepless.
Despite all off the set backs, and her worries, the fair was a huge success. Nothing could have gone better. As Samantha thanked everyone and everyone congratulated her, she felt as if all was right with the world, even if she could fly, her heart could not have been soaring higher.....

May 2010

In May the first congratulation certificate arrived, it was from the State Governor. Her mom was so excited, even more excited than Samantha herself.
It's just another piece of paper. She thought to herself, Nice paper, thick paper, pretty paper with a signature....but still just another piece of paper. Samantha was a very active young woman, who put herself out into different contests. She had one picture frame that she kept all of her certificates in. There were certificates for a large variety of thing: art and writing contest, there were certificates from dog training graduations, to piano contests. Certificates weren't really a big deal for her. She got them all the time. The only reason Samantha kept them in a frame was to keep them from getting wrinkled, (after all, she might actually care someday.) But if her mom wanted to buy her a frame so that this particular certificate could be all by itself, Samantha wasn't going to burst her bubble.

June 2010

Samantha's dad picked up the mail that morning. There was a manila envelope addressed to his daughter, he looked at the return address and saw that it was from Washington, the Supreme Court of the United States of America, no less. He couldn't wait to drive home and ask his daughter to open, so he opened it as soon as he was in his car. When he saw what was inside, he started to fume....
When he got home Samantha was serving herself left-overs for lunch. They said hello to one another, and talked about little things. Once Samantha sat down at the dinning table with her lunch, he tossed the manila envelope across the table to her.
"It's really sad," he said.
Samantha didn't bother looking at the return address, (she rarely did) as she reached in to it out, the first thing she noticed was the thickness of the paper.
It has to be a certificate, probably for my Gold Award. They must have spelled my name wrong, that would explain Papa's comment. The first thing she noticed when she had gotten it out of the envelope was that it had gotten wet. The color from the envelope had seeped into the thick certificate paper, making it look like someone had peed on it. She held the certificate on the edges, (it would just be her luck if someone had peed on it.) She looked at her name and blinked, not knowing what to say. Not only had they butchered her last name, but they hadn't gotten her first name right either: "S-a-m-a-t-h-a"
"Who is that?" her dad asked sarcastically.
"I dunno," was her reply. She felt strange, a large portion of her wanted to laugh at the absurdity of the mistake....but there was another part of her that felt upset, even hurt.
After all of her hard work, they couldn't even take the time to spell her name right on a certificate?

The whole point of a certificate was to make the recipient know that someone appreciated the hard work that was done, and if you appreciate somebody, you make doubly sure that everything about the certificate was just right.....Even the graduation paper she had gotten for dog training had her name spelled right; and all that she needed to do to get that was show up with her dog once a week, and try to keep her dog under some level of control. But the hardest thing she had ever done in her life; something that was honored and appreciated by a large portion of the community; something that was recognized as one of the greatest things that a teenage girl could ever do; something that helped bring people together to complete a common goal; something that helped better the community....You would think that a certificate for something like; a secretary would at least hit spell check. Upon closer examination, she and her mother found that Samantha's last name had been spelled wrong in the certificate from the governor, and all the other letters of congratulation as well.
If this was how people treated someone who had done something constructive and positive to help her was a wonder that anybody anywhere ever bothered to do it.


All of this ran through Samantha's mind as she sat down to her computer. It was running a live update. As she waited for the update to finish, she wondered how she could possibly make the twisted feeling in the pit of her stomach go away, and to make the corners of her eyes stop pricking with tears - tears that she did not want to shed....that would change anything, it would only change her face from dry to wet.
Writing was had always been the way she expressed her emotions, and vent out her frustration. As she allowed the live update to restart her computer, she made a mental list of all the websites she would post her story on.

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