Hanging By A Thread 1.31: Listen To The Math


“When are we ever going to use this in life?”

We used to push ‘Boom Boom Baird’s’ buttons with that one regularly. She was that math teacher with gynormous hips and the Movember mustache year round who taught me math in the ninth grade… Interestingly, her answer to the classic ninth grade math/relevence question that was meant to be simply ironic, turned out to be strangely prophetic:

“You’ll use it when YOU teach grade 9 math.”

And I did.

The other thing I remember about Miss Baird the person (not the caricature) was that she didn’t like music. I found this astonishing because everybody in my world liked some kind of music, and although we argued about whether KISS sucked or ruled, we were all in general agreement that music itself was cool… not the case for Miss Baird. She listened to talk radio at lunchtime while making circles and arrows in red ink all over our misordered operations in the polynomials we attempted to solve for X.

Incredible, but it probably explains a thing or two about how I turned out. My interest in number theory was more in line with that of Pete Townshend, who wrote “One and one don’t make two- one and one make one…” and then left us to figure out how that worked and why it was a Bargain.

So Thursday’s thread, ‘Listen To The Math’ is for Miss Baird and the thousands like her who hear the music in the math, but can’t hear the math in the music. I wish you understood, because you’re awesome otherwise.

The Common Thread airs every Thursday from 3:00-4:00 on
91.3 CJTR- Regina’s Community Radio

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