One of the first few principles teachers instill their kindergarten students is to avoid erasures.
Misspelled words, forgotten line of a nursery rhyme that needs insertion, wrong copy of words written on the blackboard, an extra centimeter of stroke of a letter, or jumbled letters of a homework-- Avoid all these if you can!
Of course, you can always turn the Mongol pencil upside down. One careless mistake and the ever reliable eraser will do all the correcting. One rub, two rubs, three rubs and swish-- erroneous fellows are all gone! But still, there are cases when traces of crossed-out writings would still be apparent from the forceful hands of the culpable writer. The black marks are all gone; but the chiseled writings that were once engraved, sometimes sit on the paper all too well, that one cannot deny.
It gets harder when you move up to Grade 3, when you say goodbye to good old pencils (save for the drawings during art class) for the welcoming of ballpens. The ink becomes a tougher enemy for the careless. There's the liquid paper, of course! But everybody hates the large amount of time it takes to apply. You cover it with a single brush to the right.. you count one to ten and once dry, you write it again! Or a single roll to the left... remedy the old strokes...And Magic! Or in cases when you answered the essay in a bad light, you apply it to the whole page like a murderer covering the evidence of his crime. Oh, but one cannot forget the frown of the teacher when she sees the white tapes of massacre!
Perfecting mess, for the non-OCs, is simple! Cross the error with one line, as if nothing happened. Or for those who cannot hide their fury of mistake, they'll do the crossing more than once, like a guilty writer encircling the mistake with inks of clouds. Ahhh you mess, I'll muddle you with more mess! But for the perfectionist, who wants his hands all too clean, a simple slip of a long stroke deserves to be omitted. A page crumpled.. tossed to the trash bin! Another length of rewriting from the start!
But as students graduate from school, how do they carry the valuable lesson of the good teacher to their lives? How do they apply the habit of straightening crooked lines and avoiding erasures? Except for filling up employment records or signing cheques that need a careful drafting of inks, one easily forgets the lecture of the kindergarten teacher-- Avoid erasures.
It doesn't always come in writing. At work, when faced with a folly, you try to remember it. From root cause analysis to a mental note to brain-- Avoid the folly! In business dealings, when an unforeseen risk crops up, you suddenly become attentive. In relationships, when dealt with personal differences, you compromise.
But just like how forceful hands of an erring student carve a transparent permanent trace on a paper, or a crossed out line of an indelible ink intertwined with past musings, some mistakes cannot be erased. An accidental pulling of the gun's trigger can result to a bloody murder of an innocent boy's life. A wrong judgment call can wound the fate of lovers. A mad combination of lust, desire and rainy evening can produce an unwanted baby nine months after. A traumatic heartbreak can wrinkle the face with pain. A wrong bet that popped out of a young man's head at the casino can scoop out all his fortune. A bunch of stills of sadness from a childhood past can pollute the memory forever. A split-second decision to hit the gas before the red light can catapult into a waste of life. A batch of released hurtful lines can pierce the emotions like daggers replaying the lacerating of words on and on.
Sometimes the damage has been done. Sometimes games are over. Sometimes all that is left in this world are scars. Sometimes there is just no way to escape mistakes. Sometimes all paths lead you astray. Sometimes the only way out is to admit defeat and go on with life-- like how we crumple a page of a paper whenever too much errors of handwriting become all too visible. Sometimes there is no room for neat-freaks, just simple cures of chaos. Sometimes you just have to admit to the teacher that in this world, misspelled words cannot be avoided just as how sometimes erasers cannot be found inside the pencil case.
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