When she was a young girl, everyone around her oohed and ahhed and said she was bound to do great things. The girl’s paintings covered the wall of her beige-colored bedroom, and she felt she was better than Van Gogh, “borned in 1853 in the Netherlands,” as she matter-of-factly told everyone that entered her room, her beautiful Buckingham Palace.
In kindergarten she complained to her parents that everyone in her class “is too young” and sniffed whenever one of them handed her a crayon. She was used to using complicated (labyrinthine, sophisticated, convoluted) tools like charcoals and pencils, and crayons couldn’t do anything other than draw a gross approximation of the sun.
She spent all day reading math books and telling everyone she wanted to be a quantum physicist when she grew up. She would put her foot down and angrily shout whenever someone scoffed or laughed at her dreams.
She read in a book somewhere that Einstein had failed Mathematics, and she was determined that doing so would make her ready to become a genius. She kicked and screamed in her pre-algebra class and skipped school with some of the older students. It’s all in the name of science, she thought, thinking she had already become a scientist with her first test subject, herself.
In eighth grade, she was thrown out of History because she had told the teacher she had memorized the whole textbook, and there really was no point in learning about the grass types in ancient Mesopotamia, whatever name that was. I mean, she’s got a point, her classmates thought, but none of them dared to say a word. The girl just sniffed and stomped away, complaining there was no one that would understand her, and if they wanted to study a “dumb useless subject,” then so be it.
She spends all day doodling in her notebook waiting for someone to find her and take her to the “great things” she was going to accomplish, but it’s been five years, and no one has approached her yet. No one has opened the box in the basement of her parents’ house and oohed and aahed about her proofs, papers, and not-paintings because art is almost as useless as history.
She graduates from high school with straight A’s but doesn’t get into University because the recommendation letter from her Math teacher was probably bad. The genius Girl deflates and looks around her at all the classmates who have been accepted, and now she remains completely uncertain about her future.
And she spends all day doodling in her notebook waiting for someone to find her and see her potential. A classmate reaches out to her, offering a statistics-based research job at University but she declines, embarrassed to be taking charity from the same person whom she once threw her notes at because he was asking too many questions.
She blames her mother for saying she was bound to do great things because that was obviously a lie and ruined her life–she is now spending all day finding a place to work, just to earn a living.
One day she breaks down in a coffee shop because she didn’t get the Job and a director in the store sees her and says he had been scouting for an actor and congratulates himself (I’m so smart, he thinks, going to a coffee shop) on his success in finding one.
The Girl who would do Great Things pushes down the automatic retort that arts are about as useless as history and history is virtually nothing but staring intently at a grain of dirt and finding some dialect engraved on it. She accepts and works tirelessly until she finally becomes mildly famous for playing the two-dimensional secondary love interest cheerleader character in a Christmas movie.
And she is the Space Shuttle Challenger, her fame blowing up almost exactly seventy-three seconds after December 25, and now everyone is saying she is doing the great things she was bound to do, but she can’t help asking herself, is she really?