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Stumbling Around Saturday November 4, 2006

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Academically Speaking, Comics, Ramblings, Video Games.

I took my microeconomics comprehensive exam this morning. With all the preparations leading up to this, it was all-systems-go: three hours, five questions, pick three, may the strongest survive. Thankfully, only one of the five questions was beyond the mere powers of mortal men.

So things were looking up.

First sign of trouble: the first question, which came from last semester’s problem sets, was by and large the easiest on the exam. I knew how to answer it, meaning I could vaguely remember how to go about the solution. But I hadn’t particularly studied for it. As such, it boiled down to whether or not to trust myself and take the risk or fall back on the remaining questions. Was I a man or a mouse?

I was a mouse.

Second sign of trouble: I hit a wall with one of the remaining problems. It so happened that I’d been studying it the night before, but it somehow fell into the category of “I-know-this-already-and-just-need-to-understand-how-to-solve-it.” So I didn’t actually practice solving it and instead tried to commit the underlying procedure to memory.

Which was well and good until I forgot.

Because I hit this proverbial wall in the middle of the test, it ate up my time and knocked my confidence down a few notches. I was able to rework my solution little by little before giving up. Later, when I succumbed to the inevitable “I-don’t-want-to-but-I-have-to-know-the-answer” urge after the test, I learned that I’d thrown in the towel mere steps prior to the final (correct) answer.

There’s a lesson to be learned here, methinks.

On my way to the test, I had to refill my Metrocard. After doing so, I decided to buy a one-day unlimited “Fun Pass” for the subways and buses seeing how I’d be out the whole day. The economics students had planned a post-test get-together cum lunch, so it looked worthwhile to spend the $7 for the meager savings on the $8 worth of bus rides and subway transfers I figured I had ahead of me.

After the test, at the subway station, I accidentally used my original Metrocard. This was one part force of habit (I went into auto-pilot and pulled out the one and not the other) and another part stupidity (the two cards look exactly alike, dammit!). Because of that one swipe, in effect I ended up paying $9 for my day’s $8 worth of rides and transfers.

I really can’t win.

Taking my own advice, after lunch I hopped on over to the Nintendo World store at Rockefeller Center to have a gander at the Wii.

What I saw instead was a ridiculously long line outside the store.

I’m no stranger to this. The last time I threw my hat in at a Nintendo World event there was no upside to the terribly long wait in line. Maybe it was a sense of déjà vu – I do not exaggerate when I say that the line was at the exact same spot halfway down the block as the last time – but I settled instead for a few stolen glances from outside the store windows.

As expected, there were not a few children there upset at having to wait at all (not counting myself). As I left, I saw one throw a tantrum in front of his mother, who tried to be as patient as possible with her son. “Is it my fault that there’s such a long line?” she reasoned to her disconsolate child.


Having time to kill, I decided to drop by my friendly neighborhood comic book store. I did the same earlier in the week, enticed by a sign outside their door that proclaimed “70% off selected graphic novels”. It must have been an effective come-on, because at the time the discounted merchandise was mostly sold out already.

This time, however, the discount shelf was packed. Unfortunately, these were mostly graphic novels I’d already bought. And I don’t mean a measly couple of dollars off; there were easily a couple of books there I bought for nearly $20 months ago that were going for $5-$6.


Despite all this, I think I had a pretty good day.

I must be getting soft in my old age.



1. John-D - November 6, 2006

Sometimes, we just can’t win. I wrote a similar, though not as graciously accepting entry some time ago here, and now that I’ve had time to look back at it, I must say that I regret my descent into mawkish self-pity. You seem to be dealing with your ups and downs quite well. Keep it up! Things, and I can say this with absolute certainty, will get better. 🙂

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