In 11th grade, I had an English teacher I was frequently at odds with.

In one paper I used the word “perspicacious” to describe someone.

She gave me a lecture about how “no 11th grader knows words like that,” and that I should “not use the thesaurus so much” on my papers.

At that time I didn’t even own a thesaurus and hadn’t used one at all. This was long before the internet came to the fore.

So I said, truthfully, “I knew that word when I was in 5th grade. I used it correctly and I’ll use what words I want to in my papers.”

She told me that I’d never get above an 85 in her class again on anything (which I did not).

Upon her telling me this, I said, “Do I seem to you like I am grade-motivated? Have I actually given you that impression?”

Ah, the joys of growing up in a very small town.

By the way, that was AP English where I later got the highest score possible (5 out of 5) on the AP English test.