One of my mom’s favorite stories about me as a child is the tale of the children’s book author, his name escapes me, who came to visit my kindergarten class. For some reason, he instructed us to get into a semi-circle and only then, asked if anybody knew what a semi-circle was. I threw up my hand and replied “a broken oval”. At which point, he supposedly erupted in laughter, so impressed he was with my reasoning skills.
Again, this is coming from my mom, so who knows if this really tickled him to that extent or not.
One of my earlier memories came a year later, sitting at lunch in first grade. I raised my hand and the principal came over to me and I told him that I had just figured something out. No, I’m not sure what the hand-raising was for, I just remember doing it. Anyway, he comes over and I hurriedly related how I had stumbled upon something of great importance.
He feigned interest as I explained that a phone number was like a code. Each number, when entered, went only to one source: the phone that you were dialing. Which is to say that each set of numbers corresponds to one physical entity, the residence which owns that phone number.
This is actually much more profound and not necessarily as obvious as it seems.
For instance, if you dial Ted’s phone number, it goes to Ted only. It doesn’t go to Ted or Mark or Billy.
I remember sitting in an advanced math class in college when I heard the name for this. It’s a one-to-one correspondence, also known as bijection.
What was my principal’s response to this? He said, “You’ve cracked the code!” in a patronizing way. Then he walked off. He probably went home and told his family about what the little fruitcake said to him at lunch that day. He wasn’t impressed.
If you’re small-minded, like my principal, you may not be impressed, either. But keep in mind, I didn’t hear anyone mention this until I was in a 300-level university course for math majors. It’s a fairly specific sort of function that doesn’t come up that often.
But if you’re still not impressed, when I was a few years older, I came to my dad with a really big idea.
Simply put, I postulated that if you were able to drop a rope from a spaceship down to earth, you could create an elevator that climbed the rope, instead of having to launch a rocket to get into orbit.
I was a little sketchy on the details, because I think I thought that the lack of gravity would somehow counteract any forces pulling the rope back to earth. In reality, I think that a weight on the end of the rope would accomplish much the same thing, like a yo-yo on the end of a string swung aroud your head.
I remember being very excited about this and going to my dad and telling him we needed to patent my idea immediately.
Of course, we didn’t.
Well Dad, as you look around your 1700 square foot condo, I want you to take a deep breath and then read this.
That’s right. Even if it never panned out to the billions and billions of dollars it almost inevitably would have… I’m not sure how to finish that sentence.
So I could be rich and famous. Not for something stupid, like being on a reality TV show, but for something noble. Something that would benefit the whole world and would make people think I’m really smart!
Because that’s what this blog is about. I know that it’s pathetic to brag about how smart you used to be, especially when you’re clearly a moron now. But that’s the level I’ve sunk to.
This is like those old men who sit around in a rocking chair at the end of their lives, reliving their glory days, through tales of old. But the sad thing is, I peaked at age 8. I have a sneaking suspicion that something went wrong in one of my early heart surgeries that nobody ever told me about, where I got (relatively minor) brain damage and my gifted abilities went down the toilet to the Normal Town Sewage System.
I should write a book about my bucolic childhood and how everything went to shit when I turned ten, but I can’t. Because I’m too goddamn stupid and lazy to do it! So one of you do it. Just make some shit up and put my name on it and I’ll split the money with you.
Did I mention I was on TV?