The SAT Monster


Many days ago, there was a vast kingdom, ruled by an adored sovereign, Academe, who dwelled in a lofty tower made of pure, white ivory. All of the gentle citizens of this land lived happily beneath their sovereign, doggedly swearing to serve and toil for him for as long as they lived.

The king was betrothed to a worthy damsel of humble birth, who was hailed by the placid common folk of this serene land as Sue Dent. Although she and her betrothed had never met, she lived her calm, busy life waiting in calm certainty for the much-anticipated day that she and her sworn husband would be united.

One fateful day, the ripples of tumult threw the peaceful kingdom into chaos. The gentlefolk were stunned and horrified by an ominous outrage. One black night, while the people slept, secure in their homes, a monster, known as the Stinky-Ape-Thing (or the SAT) climbed the king’s ivory tower and vanished with the beloved monarch into the darkness.004

Courageous knights clad in shining armor rode out on majestic stallions. Gradually, one by one, each returned from their heroic quest defeated…or never returned at all. Finally, all ventures ceased. The kingdom mourned hopeless that their cherished liege would ever return to his ivory home.

Only Sue Dent refused to lose hope. Determined to rescue her royal groom, the brave damsel sought wisdom from the Wizard of Ology, the most powerful Mathematician in the land. It was rumored that many years ago, in his brazen youth, he had bested the SAT, though consequent injuries now confined him to his dwelling. The maid pleaded with him to share the secrets of defeating the beast, so that she could rescue her king.

The wizard, hesitant at first, agreed to instruct her in the ways of an SAT warrior. From dusty shelves, he removed books of spells, a magic wand with the number “2” inscribed at one end, and an enchanted box, covered with numbers and obscure symbols printed on buttons. He told the young heroine that only through acquiring the knowledge of the spellbooks and unlocking the secrets of the magic box and wand could she overcome the SAT.007

The fearless maiden undertook this Herculean task with undaunted determination and fortitude. Undeterred by the magnitude of the hefty books, she opened the yellowed, brittle pages. A flash of dazzling light almost blinded the damsel. Numbers, symbols, cryptic formulas, marched on the page in tidy, incomprehensible columns and rows, like an alien army of extraterrestrial creatures, fixed on world domination.

The maiden devoted herself to unearthing the ancient secrets of conquering the monster. The wizard trained her rigorously. He taught her the meaning of the symbols and how to wield the magic wand and box, drilled formulas to her memory, and taught her tricks and ancient secrets. At last, he declared that there was nothing more to teach her and the damsel ventured forth to rescue her betrothed.

Armed with the magic box and wand, she climbed the rocky mountain where the creature dwelled. The path to the front entrance of the monster’s cave was a gentle, lush slope, but poison ivy, hidden by the greensward, covered the ground. The spellbooks bespoke of a back entrance to the beast’s lair, which Sue Dent approached with comparative ease (though great fear) due to her intense training. The entrance was barred by a thick, wooden door with an ancient riddle inscribed on it. Sue Dent recognized the ancient symbols. She lifted up the magic box, with some hesitancy, pressed some buttons, and the door flew open, whereupon she entered the dark, cavernous lair.

As she ventured deep into the beat’s lair, all light faded away, shrouding her in thick, suffocating darkness. But the maiden had prepared well. She uttered an ancient charm, igniting the magic wand. The “2” pulsed with a restrained fire.

She continued farther into the dank lair, hearing nothing but the sound of her rapid heartbeat. The wizard had carefully taught her to navigate the labyrinth. Finally, she rounded one corner and the light revealed the king, trapped in thick vines of ivy. She started toward him, when a roar shook the entangling vines. She whirled around to see the SAT charging at her, teeth bared, nostril flaring, tendrils of drool falling to his giant chest.

She looked at her hands. Her fingers flew over the buttons of the magic box, as she muttered to herself. Sparks flew from the wand as she triumphantly pointed it at the charging beast. Light flew from the “2”, hitting the SAT in his stony heart.

The creature stepped back. His eyes could not focus. He vaguely clawed the air, grunting, foam flying from his mouth. With a thunderous thud, he fell over backward. The beast was vanquished.

Sue Dent liberated the king and the kingdom welcomed their sovereign with great rejoicing and celebration.

Until the SAT’s brother, the Ape-Cyclops-Thing (or the ACT), decided to avenge his brother by capturing the king.

And everything starts all over again…



Thanks, Mom :)

049There are many “superficial” things that hold deep meaning. It could be a song that revives a memory of a loved one, or an article of clothing worn on a happy day. For me, almost all of my jewelry has special significance.

Perhaps that is why I hesitate to buy a new piece; I do not want to clutter the wooden jewelry box that Gramma gave me with pretty, meaningless sparkles.

As I rummaged through my jewelry box last Sunday, looking for some accessory, my fingers found themselves clutching a piece I had nearly forgotten – that I feel guilty for rarely wearing.

I can’t remember how old I was…probably around 1st grade (although I wouldn’t swear to it. It was sometime between kindergarten and 3rd grade). One of our neighbors hosted some sort of jewelry sale at her house and Mom took me and my sister. For a kid my age (whatever that was), it was a largely boring affair, with ladies standing around talking considerably more than shopping and tables full of gold and silver jewelry strands (not a single Disney princess or Hello Kitty on any of them!). Although I spent most of the night watching Alvin and the Chipmunks, one piece of jewelry did catch my eye.

It was a watch. To this day, I seldom wear a watch (and, in my opinion, it is only a matter of time – no pun intended – before the watch joins its predecessor, the sundial, as a decoration). However, this watch did secure my attention. It did not have a traditional gold and/or silver band and clasp, instead, the band was made of tiny glass turtles. Those turtles fascinated me; they were so colorful and had such intriguing designs on their backs.

I begged Mom to buy it for me. I remember ladies telling her not to; “It’s too nice for her!” My little blue eyes filled with tears. I knew that Mommy was not going to buy me my turtle timepiece.

But she did!

As aforementioned, I do not wear it often. In fact, I have scarcely looked at it in years. Yet, it still holds that precious memory for me, of Mom loving me enough to buy me something that (I know realize) was probably expensive, unheeding of her friends’ advice and the fact that I would probably throw it in my jewelry box and never wear it again.

However, I did wear it last Sunday. After church, Mom lifted my wrist, stared at the watch, said, “Oh”, and dropped it with a blank expression on her face. I doubt she recognized it.

Mom deserves massive appreciation for all the things that she does. My English teacher would abolish the word “things” with one swipe of her red pen for being vague. But what word do you use to describe a hodgepodge of roles from chauffeur to dress consultant to cook to editor?

And the crazy thing is that she may not even remember some of the stuff (another vague word, but what can you do?) that her children remember most.

That is why it is so important to make Mom feel special on Mother’s Day. We should be showing her every day in little things, but on a regular day, everyone vies for what they want to do. Today is to do whatever Mom wants.

And don’t forget to simply thank her.

Thanks for everything, Mom.

I love you 🙂