I was in the eighth grade in Tehran. My cousin told me and my older sister that she had arranged for the three of us to participate in a game show on TV. The participants on the game show had to compete in math, history, and geography subjects. We showed up to the studio on schedule. It was so exciting for me. My sister and my cousin were eliminated in the earlier stages of the game and I managed to do well in six of the seven stages of the game. The person who passed the seventh stage would win a big prize. Just as I passed the sixth stage, time ran out and they "wrapped up" the show, promising the audience that they will come back next week. In reality, though, the next segment was taped right there and then. I couldn't answer the last question and I was eliminated. They gave us some nice consolation prizes and we went home.
A few days later the first part of the game show was aired on television. I was quietly praying that no one I knew would watch that silly show. As I got on the bus to go home the day after the show aired, I noticed all the other neighborhood kids who were riding the same bus had seen the show and had recognized me in it. I was a celebrity! But wait a minute, I had lost the first prize, only these guys didn't know it yet! They would find out about it next week. As each of them tried to come and talk to me on the bus, especially the boys, I was feeling so awful, knowing that I wasn't the super smart girl they thought I was! If only they knew how I would mess up the final stage, they wouldn't be so excited to be talking to me! I was so sad. One of our neighborhood boys, Faramarz, was such a meanie. He always teased me even when I hadn't become a local celebrity and there was yet no proof of my stupidity in the shape of my upcoming loss on the program. He would surely tease me mercilessly now. I was sick with worry.
Next week's program aired and my humiliation was put up on TV for all to see. The next day I didn't want to show my face in the neighborhood. Alas I had to go to school, so I braved it. When I got on the bus that afternoon, there was a hush on the bus. I found a seat and sat down quickly. I could feel all those disappointed eyes on myself. The bus ride felt like it would never end. I got off at my station, and all the neighborhood kids did, too. I started walking quickly towards my house. Soon I felt someone walking fast first behind me and then next to me. It was that horrible, dreaded Faramarz. I braced myself to hear his venom and to give it right back to him. He said: "So, you lost! (bakhti?)" I bristled and turned to look at him, getting ready to tell him off. He said "You know, I wouldn't have made it to the sixth level. You did good. That last question was really hard, there was no way I knew the answer." I looked up into his eyes which looked at me with a sincerety I had never seen there before. I said "I wished I hadn't messed up. I wished I had won." He said "I'm glad you didn't win. Just getting all the way up there showed me a side of you I had never known before. I don't know if I could handle you if you were that smart!" We laughed together. A big weight was lifted off my shoulders. I have loved being an average person ever since.


Anonymous said...

Nice story!
And yes! one should be very lucky to be an average person. When you are something more or at least you have shown a smarter person in the past, you are doomed to be like that for the rest of your life; It makes the others be afraid of you or feel far from you. It forces you to live as an intelligent person, not enjoying being yourself...you would be forced to be the person the others see in you...
So you can say that you are a very lucky person!
Good for you!

Esfand` said...

=D wow!!! suuuperrr ..... the good thing is, your super ability to make sense and meaning out of your tiny experiences like this, its par with the great writers....

so you know that I am waiting for your book, right? :D

Keep sprearing these messages, surely they make my day a bit better :) and make me smile!

Have a splendid weekend ahead of you!

Shobeir said...

I don't know how you can dramatize your stories! :D
I just can't stop read them to their end...


Shideh said...

beautiful story Nazy joon,
thank you for bringing me a smile as I begin my day!

Azita said...

Sometimes we look back at times when we were little while we still carry the weight of emotions from that time as if it were yesterday.
We all carry some memories from the past but we don’t have to let them define us.
Not knowing an answer to a question does not determine the level of your intelligence.
Not winning a television game show does not lower you I.Q.
Don’t underestimate yourself Nazy Jan.
Your big heart is filled with love and compassion for humanity,
your generosity and kindness towards people around you,
your honesty and courage and
your mission to make the world
a better place, is a testament that you are no average person, and if that’s called average,
I’ll take being average anytime of the day.

ahmad said...

Couldn't wait untill reading the whole piece! Very sweet story! It seems Faramarz had liked you early on, but didn't want to get closer while you had superior situation! I had heard of this (and seen in an Iranian movie) that boys (maybe mostly Iranian boys) start with harrassing the girl they like long before they confess their feeling! So strange! Is this something girls like it as well?

I know this is late, but I would like to say Happy Birtday to Kavian and wish him best of all in his life. Your last post, 22, made me think of what I was up to when I turned 22... mmm I was preparing to get into graduate school in Tehran, living in dorm, no social life except the close friendship I had with some of my classmates and roommates, and a couple of life-lasting mistakes... I was doing my best though, and enjoyed it!