C- as defined by this chart here is “minimum standards”. I’ve worn this letter grade throughout school like a badge. In the 4th grade when I brought home my first report card with letter grades my mom and the guy we were living with at the time were horrified. They thought I was going to be a super student based on my previous report cards that had no letter grades but only comments. I was described as pleasant, obedient, cooperative and not stupid. Once letter grades were introduced to my life though, I changed. I was none of those good things from then on. That first letter grade report card was full of C minuses.
Every time I brought home a report card that was full of the C- grade, I would get this rush of motivation to do better next time. I would do OK for a month and then start slipping again. I knew if I brought home crap grades I would get in shit but I kept bringing them home cause I just couldn’t get myself to study all the time. They would try to bribe me and punish me but it wouldn’t work. To me I didn’t see the point. I didn’t have dreams of going to university, couldn’t care less of what school mates thought of my grades and getting in trouble from my mom or guardian didn’t scare me.
The C- grade often signifies that you hate this shit and just want to get by. Doing just enough so you don’t drown. I was always methodical about my C- grade too. We would get 3 semesters/terms a year in high school. If I got D’s in the first 2 semesters I would calculate what I needed to get in the last semester in order to finish the year with a C-. Also, if I got higher than a C- in the first 2 semesters I would do as little as possible in the last semester as long as I didn’t get lower than a C-. My grade 11 math teacher discriminated against my ways and failed me for the year out of spite. I was in grade 12 and needed to pass math 11 to graduate. The rule was a grade 12 student wasn’t required to take the final if they had already passed the year. With my calculations I passed the year with 51% so I said screw it to taking the final. So what does she do? She fails me and says it’s up to her if she wants to include my grade from the final which was 0% cause I didn’t take it. She hated that I skipped class, hardly did my homework but still was able to muster up a passing grade. She was fat and got cancer later. I went to report her to the vice principal but being the C- person I am, I didn’t try harder to make a thing about it. Plus I was just a timid, passive Asian kid. She’s lucky I had no uncle or father to tell who would actually do something. If I could go back I would have assembled some friends together wearing ski masks or pantyhose (probably pantyhose cause it would be way funnier) and bombarded her with rotten eggs. I would come back a year later and let her know it was me.
It wasn’t until grade 12 that I stumbled upon a way to change my C- grades into C+’s. Our report cards were printed using light black/greyish ink so if you just took a thin lead pencil and stroked the – into a + you would get a decent looking C+. More than sufficient to trick an immigrant mother.
My C- life has continued since then. I still only do just enough most of the time. Throughout my 20’s I would work and save money just so I could not work. Most other people would continue working so they could buy something big like a new car or property. I’m starting to think it’s just not very possible for me to be trying to get B’s or A’s or even C+’s whether it’s in school or life. Maybe I should be deliberately trying to live a C- life instead of living a C- life but always thinking and sometimes trying to live for a higher letter grade. Maybe I’m better off just getting by cause every time I try to shoot for the stars or whatever is lower than the stars, I lose fuel and have to eject myself back to ground. Sounds like loser talk but shit, maybe I am one. If I really am then there’s no use even trying to compete.