Wednesday, September 8, 2010

no limits.

“When f(x) = 2x, use the value….”

“Ask the ‘No Limit Solider!” he flashed his dashing smile, while taking a break from playing tetris on his T2 scientific calculator he borrowed from his teammate.

Ms. Nettles, like always, stopped her lesson, to engage in his attention-seeking explosions. “Well….maybe I should…” She slowly turned her heavy-set statue, and shifted over to the file cabinet where the tiny, green toy soldier had been placed on Friday afternoon before the pep rally. As she moved across the classroom, a waft of 1977 (maybe 1978) flowery perfume spread through the air. I will never forget that raunchy smell. I turned my head from my book and smiled at my boyfriend. How does he do it? His smile back to me begged me for my participation. I knew the look, and accepted the bet. We always competed…who could push it the furthest, and we both secretly got off to playing the game. Game on.

“Now, I believe he says that when f(x) = 2x….,” she slowly began…

“---wait! do you hear that?!” I interrupted, stepping up to the plate. “No Limit Soldier is actually is saying that we should have pizza delivered to our classroom.”  It was a bold move, but one, if politicized correctly, would send my boyfriend into defeat. I got this. I got this. Despite the appropriate laughs from the class, as well as Ms. Nettles, from a typical jokester outburst, I began stating my case in the most serious and convincing tone in my arsenal. In the midst of comparing why ordering pizza could relate to our math lesson, I turned to my boyfriend (mostly for approval, but also to mock him, knowing that I was going to pull this off) who was shaking his head and smiling. He had put the ‘No Limit Soldier’ toy (conjured up from a rap song, and a lesson on numerical approaches to limits- Nettles, of course, only knew the connection between the toy’s name and the latter of the two derivatives…..pun intended) on the file cabinet, staring right in my direction a week before. He said it was to remind me that he controls the classroom. If I weren’t the Sagittarius that I am, we would have ended right then and there. However, I adored our playful nature, and we pushed one another constantly while seeking laughs.

* I drove up to my old high school the morning before my flight back to New York. It was the first time I set foot in the place since graduation…8 years ago. Confidently walking into the teachers lounge with a good friend, I pulled up a chair and began the tedious process of explaining what I had been doing, where I had been, praising the structural changes of the high school, noting how young the students look nowadays…blah, blah, blah. I turned to my left where she had just sat down. “So, do you remember me?” I asked, knowing there was a very slim chance Ms. Nettles, well into her 60s would recognize me.

“Now,” she began in her creaky, high-pitched voice, “how on earth could I forget the only student in my 35 years of teaching that convinced me to order pizza and have it delivered to our classroom? Tell me. What are you doing with your life?”

“I actually was inspired by you, and ended up becoming a mathematician.”

I texted him before I got on my plane back to New York to let him know I got her last. Before I could even sit back and enjoy my victory, he challenged my play. With the same politicized attitude, he promptly informed me that flat out lying to the woman doesn’t count. Until next time- Here’s to “The Game.”

1 comment:

  1. a mathematician! you would.




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