It was an exhilarating experience. At the end of the course, I came away with an "A" for my first grade in seminary, and was capable of translating the appointed Gospel lesson for a given Sunday in five hours or less. And I actually did do that each week for the following three months.
Could I do it now? No. Could I do it even ten months later? Not really. I could barely remember en ar-KAY ayn ha LOH-gohs (Blogger wouldn't accept my Greek font, darn it), Greek for "In the beginning . . . " Knowledge gained through cramming doesn't last unless it is used on a regular basis, unless it is reviewed, refreshed, and used.
All of this has been in my consciousness this week as I've read reports of the debate prep and came across the following:
"After campaigning with her running mate, Sen. John McCain, in Ohio, she will travel Monday to McCain's Arizona cabin to cram for the debate in St. Louis, Missouri . . . ."
So, Sarah's got three or four days to learn how to be Vice President? To cram in everything she needs to know to convince the voters that she could step in on a moment's notice? And then have all of that knowledge at her fingertips later on?
Give me a break.
Based on Governor Palin's recent interviews with Katie Couric, with Charles Gibson, a lot of people I know are eager for the debate this Thursday, eager to watch her make a fool of herself -- and of John McCain -- yet again.
But consider this: It could all backfire. Based on her past performance, the expectations of Sarah Palin are not very high. She's almost bound to do better than we anticipate.
Crossing a bar that has been set low should not fool viewers into thinking this is someone with deep knowledge. It is someone who has crammed. Who has essentially learned a full year of Greek in four weeks and not only passed the course, but has done so with flying colors. Whose knowledge of The Important Things is right up there with my knowledge of Greek back at the end of September, '92.
I want someone smarter than I am to be President and I want someone with a deeper knowledge of the issues than I have to be Vice President. It scares me that this woman who can't name a Supreme Court other than Roe v. Wade is "cramming" to learn Vice President 101. It terrifies me to think that as soon as five or six months from now -- Given Senator McCain's age and health -- she could be the leader of the free world.
I watched Katie Couric ask Sarah Palin about John McCain's record, heard the candidate say, "I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you ," and I cringed. I read this and was speechless myself.
She may as well have said, "Katie, it's all Greek to me."