Sunday, July 3, 2011

Calculus & Carousels

The school year has finally ended, my two courses completed (with more success than I had anticipated, particularly in calculus). I can't say I was especially looking forward to my calculus final, considering my two previous midterms did not go very well for me (I know, having two midterms makes the word midterm kind of a misnomer. I'm not sure what that says about our math department: 1 semester divided by 3 tests = ½?). I knew the concepts behind the math but when a math problem takes two pages to solve there's a very good chance that you'll make a mistake somewhere. And once you make that mistake- forgetting to put in a negative sign, confusing your 2 for a 3, or relying on the divisional principles that the fourth floor administrators set out that 1 divided by 3 equals ½, you're done for. That mistake turns into an avalanche and the further you go the more your math problem starts to look like an internal Hebrew U administrative memo. I decided I would have to actually study for the test. So I did. Sort of. In bouts alternating with watching Dr. Who. Great show by the way.
The day of the dreaded math final came. I left my apartment at 7:50 to leave no chance of being late for the test at 9. This will probably not surprise anyone familiar with a certain Mr. Murphy, but the bus I was waiting for, the one that comes twice an hour and goes straight to the Har Hatzofim campus, didn't come and I ended up taking whatever bus next pulled in to the bus stop, then waiting 20 minutes for the number 19 bus which I have since pronounced my mortal enemy. I got there at 9:05, spent 5 minutes getting to the Rothberg building, and then another 5 minutes hunting down the room I was supposed to take the test in. Instead of having a central list of people and classrooms, every classroom had a list on the door of people who were taking the test in that room. This is not helpful when you have 5 rooms on 3 different floors. I finally found the room I was supposed to be in on my 5th attempt. And of course the only seat left was a lefty desk. After 2 excruciatingly uncomfortable minutes which my chiropractor will have to sort out for me, I asked to move. I managed to finish the test and check it over within an hour and a half. Then I was free! Incidentally I recently had a dream that I was unsuccessfully taking my math final in a burning building.

In other news, my father gets a congratulations for another successful theater run, this time in “Carousel.” He was very convincing as a cotton candy seller, less so as a “young lad.” The real congratulations are due to him for singing and dancing without his glasses on while not tripping anyone, falling off the stage, causing anyone else of fall off the stage or accidentally eating his cotton candy. Bravo. At least we have one semi successful thespian in the family. I myself have never gotten any respectable roles when forced to perform in school and camp plays. I still remember my line, well, word would be more accurate, as “Jewish street person number 3” in our 8th grade Holocaust play. I ran onstage after Jewish street people numbers 1 & 2, shouted “Dead!” and ran off again. I remember being jealous of Jewish street person number 1 because he got a whole line. Ok, two words, but it was a pronoun and an adjective and therefore a complete sentence. Whereas all I had was a fragment. That part was however still more respectable than the part they shoved me into in camp. Do you know what playing a wall of garbage can do to an 11 year old's self esteem? Nothing good, that's for sure. Although this does answer the question of why I'm always neurotically cleaning something.

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