Gut Rumbles

July 03, 2008

Have mercy

Originally published September 20, 2003

It's tough being a complete ignoramus in a world full of computer-literate people, especially when you try to operate a blog. The experience brings back bad memories for me. In school, I always was an outstanding student, picked for Advanced Placement classes and accustomed to seeing lots of "A's" on my report card. I believed that I was one smart cookie.

That delusion came crashing down around my ears when I ran my Cracker head into Trigonometry in my junior year of high school. The teacher laid some kind of mysterious "F of x" on me, and I was waylaid, ambushed, booby-trapped and fragged. I made my first and only "F" on a report card that year. The really disturbing part was the fact I CRUISED to "A's" and "B's" in other subjects and I WORKED MY ASS OFF at Trig and still failed. I listened in class, I attempted the homework and I studied the book, but I reminded myself of the monkey that picks up the legbone in 2001: A Space Oddesey. The monkey farked around with the legbone long enough to gain a flash of insight and understanding. THIS THING CAN BE USED AS A CLUB! I CAN USE IT TO SLAY MY PREY AND FIGHT MY ENEMIES! I GET IT!

That never happened to me with trig. I just sat there pounding the bone in the dirt without a clue, letting drool run down my chin and appearing very simian to those who tried to explain that incomprehensible shit to me. My parents paid for a tutor. The tutor gave me up for being utterly hopeless. I managed to pass with a "D" in that class, and I'm pretty sure that I became an English Major in college because I didn't have to take many math courses to earn a degree. I never wanted to experience such humiliation again.

Looking back, I can explain THAT vacuum-lock of the brain by saying that I was a raging sea of hormones at the time, awash in the throes of puberty. Once I outgrew that problem (I think it took me AT LEAST ten years), I did fine with math. When I went to work at the pigment plant, I soon found myself making all sorts of mathematical calculations to prorate treatment batches, determine inventories, predict chemical usage and factor costs of reagents, energy and labor per ton by grade of pigment. I was doing that "F of x" thing without realizing it.

Then, I started a blog. I've been doing it for nine months now, and I remain a lost sheep in the rolling meadows of computers. Listen: hear that forlorn "baaa....baaa" from WAY over THERE in the dark, when all the other sheep are warm and happy in the barn? That's ME!

It's TRIG all over again!

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