June 28, 2010 | Greek


I get caught up in my Rosetta Stone scores.

This morning I did not feel great when I woke up, I think because I got overheated yesterday. Sunday was extremely hot, and Brandt and I were outside in the sun at the annual gay pride parade.

Parade and Parade Watchers

Parade and Parade Watchers

A Lively Float

A Lively Float

So I opted for Rosetta Stone rather than Pimsleur. As I explained last week, Rosetta Stone does not demand quite as much energy of you as Pimsleur, a distinction that sometimes matters in those delicate moments before one finishes one’s coffee.

Despite my fragile state, my brain sharpened quickly. After warming up, I soon stopped making mistakes and got 100 percent on a Rosetta Stone “core lesson.” This was part of Unit 1, Level 4, Lesson 1 (confusingly “Lesson 1” actually consists of multiple lessons). The core lessons are the big ones where they introduce you to a bunch of new stuff. I can’t remember how many questions there were in this particular core lesson, but probably more than 100.

Then I got a perfect score on the next lesson.

And the next lesson.

And the next lesson.

I was four for four.

Now, see, in one way I like those percentages, but in another way I don’t, because getting scored reminds me of those top scorer things you see on videogames. No matter how much you disdain that stuff (and I do), you can really get sucked in and get very competitive. I don’t know the modern games, but I think that used to happen to me with pinball or something old-school like that.

So there I was, glassy-eyed in front of my Rosetta Stone screen, all keyed up, staring at the computer, and forgetting about my remaining coffee.

I reached the core lesson of Unit 1, Level 4, Lesson 2. There were 125 questions, and I was doing well, and then I didn’t pay attention for one millisecond and I got one wrong, even though I knew the right answer. Rats!

I ended up with a 99 percent, and my run of perfect scores was over. I finished my coffee feeling a little like I did when the Knicks lost the seventh game of the 1994 NBA finals.

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