Skip to main content

Total Rip-Off Tuesday

Wherein I "rip-off" another writer from the web. Not taking credit, just sharing good stuff.

Today, I have to share John Zmirak, since I met him last week and he's my new best friend. If that's creepy, so be it.


I’ll never forget the last lesson I had, in my last math class. The teacher, overwhelmed by our youthful zest for lethargy, announced with a sigh, "Well, we didn’t get through all of Trigonometry. If some of you had done the homework…aw, screw it. Anyway, one day, some of you are going to come across something called a logarithm," she said, closing the textbook. "But you won’t know what they are…"

Our teacher was right. When I got to Yale—the S.A.T.s plucked me out of Queens like a coal out of a dung fire—I tried to kill off the science requirement by taking Physics for Fools. But Professor Horvath, an earnest, brilliant Hungarian began to sling around that "math jargon," including the dreaded "logarithm." I looked around, and confirmed that I was not alone ignorant, seeing hundreds of scrunched-up, puzzled, non-Asian eyes. Since I was born without the gene for shame, I raised my hand and asked this refugee from Communism who now taught at America’s top undergraduate college:

"Excuse me, Professor. What’s a logarithm?"

He paused, and went into an explanation of how to derive the confabulatory scrutative precipitates of an ordinal imaginary fraction from the…no, and none of the other kids understood, either. So my hand shot up again. 

"Excuse me, Professor. My math’s not so strong…" He breathed the harrumph of the just, and explained more simply, speaking more slowly. The words sounded pretty.

This time I put up my paw more timidly. "I’m sorry, Professor, I still don’t understand...What’s a logarithm?"
With flashing eyes, he admitted at last: "It is a button on ze calculator!"

We wrote that down, every word. "A logarithm is a button on ze calculator."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Secret Santa!!

Too old for Santa? I think not.

Yes, there are discussions as to whether we should "lie" to kids and tell them that Santa brings them gifts vs. We can't lie to the kids; it's wrong.

There is also the "Christmas is about Jesus" vs. "But Santa is magical!"

You know, we have so few magical and joyful moments, and less and less as we get older. Santa is fun. And the kids usually figure it out, and no one I know was ever scarred for life for believing that Santa brought them and every child everywhere a toy for Christmas.

It's the magic of looking up at the sky on a clear December night, thinking "I'll wait up to see Santa" and later, as you fell asleep at the window, being in your daddy's arms as he carries you to bed.

It's the magic of putting out cookies and milk (or beer, because Santa does like beer) and maybe some carrots for the reindeer, and then checking in the morning to make sure the food was all consumed.

It's…

Advent Brokenness

It was a lovely May evening, the kind we in Michigan savor like honey. After the brutal cold of winter, flowers blossomed, grass greened, mosquitoes flocked. School was almost done for the year - just the formalities of 8th grade graduation were ahead.

Why not saddle up the horse and go for a ride? Why not, indeed. So my sister and I did. I took Prince out across the road from our house, to romp through the weeds on a path my father mowed for us. The view from horseback on a spring night - well, nearly Heaven.

Until Prince bolted. He spooked. I fell. And my arm broke. Compound fracture.

My dog, a collie, had followed us out. He was not particularly trusting of Prince, as Prince would never allow himself to be herded, and this vexed my collie. My dog, channeling his inner Lassie, ran home without me.

My sister had been in the yard with her boyfriend at the time, Gary, waiting for me to come back. Instead, it was just the dog loping across the road. That didn't seem right, so my si…