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When Jess was in 3rd grade she had the bright idea of signing up for Viola lessons at school, which turned out not to be such a good idea after all.
She pretty much hated the viola, couldn't make a decent sound come out of it, couldn't really read the musical notes, and, because she grew her nails out, it made it almost impossible to make music with the thing. And the problem really, was that Jess refused to cut her nails - it was just something she wouldn't do, viola or not.
Her teacher was okay, about most things, but was always telling her to cut her nails and Jess was always refusing. The whole thing was a disaster really, and even though she begged her Mom to let her quit, for some reason, her mother had it in her head that Jess was going to be the next Beethoven and just wouldn't let her stop - for two years - until finally, in the fifth grade her Mom gave up the fight and said "fine, you can quit the viola." And she did, happily.
Now, fast forward to 8th grade, in tech glass, and Jess is sitting next to this mean girl who never liked her, who in fact always seemed to go out of her way to be mean to Jess. And she starts teasing Jess about why she quit the viola, essentially saying that she hear it was because Jess refused to cut her nails.
It wasn't that big a deal, really, but for some reason it really got under Jess' skin - where had this girl heard that, and why was she even talking about it. It turned out that it was Jess' old viola teacher who had been talking about it, essentially telling all of her little third grade music classes not to be like Jess from the eighth grade and to all keep their nails trimmed, or else they would end up like Jess - unable to play the viola.
Jess was so mad. She couldn't understand why this teacher, a grown woman, an adult, was telling lies about her to her classes, essentially spreading rumors that just weren't true. She imagined confronting the teacher, asking why, telling her to stop, yelling at her maybe, but ultimately she realized it wasn't really Jess' problem - it was the Teacher's. The teacher was using Jess, and this lie about her fingernails, to try to get the other kids to do what she wanted . Unfair? Yes. Weird? Yes. Childish? Definitely. But Jess let it go.
Well, maybe every once in awhile she still imagines heading back to elementary school to give that teacher a piece of her mind, but she doesn't let it bother her.
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