Grade seven, new math teacher, lots of nasty stuff going on in my life that had nothing to do with school. We began with a review and the class’s performance was, shall we say, less than completely inspiring. Mr. Y’s shoulders drooped in defeat, so that even though he was shaping up to be a weenie, I was feeling a sneaking sympathy for him.
Then a particular question arose.*
You know how your mind can be disturbingly porous on important issues, Dear Reader, yet watertight when it comes to minutiae? Well somehow my brain had latched on to this one fact and clung with the same enthusiasm the paparazzi show in reporting Paris Hilton’s pantylines.
I put my hand up, provided the answer, and the teacher’s relief was absolute. Suddenly, I was at the ground zero of the compliment bombs, in the Winners’ Circle of Yay. If accolades were Gatorade and the setting the Stanley Cup, I was the triumphant coach’s unbaptized jersey.
Until I left the math room, that is. Mr. Y’s over-the-top reaction only ensured my classmates’ hatred, and the first of many <headlocker> moments to come.
Piled on top of everything else, the pressure of his expectations was too much for my teenaged-self. I worried about the day when the inevitable disappointment would bloom in his eyes, to the point that I couldn’t sleep. So I did it: The next day I made an appointment with the poor guy. The memory of his confusion, as I preemptively admitted my inadequacies, still makes me both smile and cringe.
So what does that have to do with anything here and now, you might ask? Why revisit ancient history? Well this, Gentle Reader, is my preemptive appointment with you.
Some of you are under the impression that I am funny, that I possess a biting wit and that a visit here will be rewarded by a smile, if not an outright guffaw. But the truth is my Colbert Gene goes into frequent hiding.
More than that, I don’t want to be constrained by any one facet of myself. There are days I’ll want to pontificate, and days that I will rage, and days where I’ll aim for funny, but my jokes will fall flatter than my teenaged-daughter’s crumb cake.
And the truth is, as much as I would like to begin as I end, I’m still not entirely sure where I am headed. I see this as my space to play, a creative outlet, and perhaps, a shared community for other creative types—particularly those, who like me, already sport a damn heel blister less than a mile into the writing journey.
So I’m granting myself a fluidity of purpose here that probably defies all blogging convention. Well too bad. Without that fluidity my Muse will choke. And if there’s one thing I know about myself by now, it is this:
I’m inordinately fond of oxygen.
So that’s it. That’s what I had to get off my chest, and I feel much better for the disclosure. If you’ve read this far and haven’t already quit, thank you for your time.
In repayment I’ll now turn you over to one of the masters of funny, Carol Burnett. If you can watch this clip without laughing at least once aloud, you’re a much harder creature than I:
*It scarcely matters for discussion purposes, but the question was this: If n is the number of objects in a set, what formula allows you to calculate the number of subsets?
A: 2 to the power of n.