First Impressions: For Better or For Worse

At a meeting at work today, each participant was asked to answer three simple questions as part of a quick ice-breaker:

  1. Where did you grow up?
  2. How many siblings do you have?
  3. What was one interesting or challenging thing from your childhood?

It was a nice and easy way to get to know some of my work-mates a bit better. When it came to me, I answered like this:

“I was born in Vancouver and have lived in Richmond all 40 years of my life. I have a brother Jason who is two years younger than me. “

So far, so good.

I continued, “And in kindergarten as a five year-old, I was the only kid in the class who knew how to do division with fractions.”

I heard a few chuckles and a couple of audible “wows”.

“Unfortunately, I was also the only kid in the class still wearing diapers.”

The room erupted into laughter. And those not laughing were rolling their eyes.

It’s pretty amusing to think that almost 35 years later, I haven’t really changed that much. On one hand, I’m good with numbers (despite my performance on my accounting exams haha), I’m strong at mental math, and I enjoy stats and numerical analysis – especially with respect to sports.

On the other hand, I’ll never win a “Most Mature” award. In fact, it’s common knowledge that I’m likely the least-mature person in my household…including our three kids. There’s a reason why my lovely wife Gail likes to say that she has four children. And while I don’t wear diapers anymore, I wasn’t the quickest person to develop either mentally, physically, or socially.

They say that you only get one chance to make a first impression. I can only imagine what impression I made on my kindergarten teacher Mrs. Hunter and the rest of my classmates at Quilchena Elementary School: a math whiz kid who wasn’t yet potty trained.

And with a pretty bad haircut.


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