episiotomy closure

4/20/10

In a math classroom, the teacher writes “1 + 2 = ?” on the chalkboard. She then asks the class of 25 kids what the answer is. She goes down the row, and one by one, each of the students says “three!” Until she gets to Student X, right in the middle of everybody.

“The answer is four,” he says loudly. Everyone in class turns to look at him. The teacher, trying to make sure everybody is treated fairly, says, “Student X, are you sure? Look at the problem: one plus two equals…”

“Four,” the student repeats, only this time it’s louder. Even kids who were barely paying attention in the back row look up from their doodles. But the teacher is still trying to be nice and take him seriously, so she explains, “Okay, we start with one, then we add two more. That should make three, don’t you think?”

He stands up, enraged. “I don’t have to take your word for this shit!” he yells. “Who are YOU to tell me how many ‘two’ is?”

“I’m the teacher,” she says, “and in mathematics, ‘two’ has always meant-”

“Shut your fucking pie hole, you elite cow! Don’t talk down to me!”

“I’m not talking down to you, Student X,” she says, trying to keep her cool, “I’m simply saying that the entire known world has adopted a number system that-”

“There you go again!” Student X screams, swiveling around to face the students behind him, “Can you believe this shit?”

Suddenly the boy behind him, Student Y, leaps to his feet. “I sure as hell can’t!” he bellows, “Fuck the teacher and her so-called experts!” Student X gives him a high-five. “Amen, brother! One plus two equals WHATEVER THE FUCK WE SAY IT IS!”

The class starts to murmur to each other, little arguments start up, some of the people who answered “three” look worried. The teacher, perplexed, tries to move on.

“Okay,” she says, “let’s just keep going down the row, people.” She points to the student behind Student Y. “How about you? What is one plus two?”

The student looks perplexed. “I mean, I don’t know,” he mumbles, “I’m just not sure who to believe anymore.”

“Yeah,” says the girl next to him, “There are so many conflicting sources! How are we supposed to make an educated guess?”

“There’s no guessing!” the teacher exclaims, clearly frustrated, “There are two numbers. Known quantities. Add them together, and the result is not a guess, it’s a fact!”

“Maybe in YOUR WORLD!” Student X quips. “In MINE, one plus two equals four!”

“We live in the same world!” the teacher yells. “Your arbitrary decision to be purposely obtuse only makes things miserable for everybody, and keeps your fellow students from learning anything!”

The bell rings, and all the students jump out of their seats. They all filter past the teacher, who is sitting on her desk, angrily staring into middle distance. The last student to leave, Student X, stops right in front of her.

“You’re a sad fuck, you know that?” he says with a smirk, then leaves the room. The teacher simmers in silence for a few minutes, then wanders over to the window for some fresh air. She catches sight of Student X and Student Y, walking together across the playground to the street.

A black limousine pulls up, and a man gets out of the back seat. He hands a wad of cash to both students, who gleefully accept the money, and run off. The man watches them go, then looks up to the school windows, where he spots the teacher. He chuckles derisively, shakes his head, and gets back into the limousine. With sudden horror, she sees the number stitched into the back of his suit: 4.

ShorpyClassroom(bl).jpg

0 thoughts on “episiotomy closure

  1. Andrew

    The teacher’s conclusion (her opinion) that the answer is 3 is only correct if in fact 1 is 1, 2 is 2, and the equation requires addition. If those facts are known to be true and absolute, then the opinion that the answer is 3 would be correct and the opinion that the answer is not 3 would be incorrect.
    However, there can be no discussion of opinion as to whether warming is man-made, is a natural cycle of the earth, or what to do about it in either event until there is consensus that temperature data shows a rise and the data is
    true and absolute. As Matt noted yesterday, to disregard Climategate in total (or any other data that differs from a pre-set opinion on either side) shows that getting the answer of 3 is more important that determining that 1 is in fact 1.

    Reply
  2. Rebecca

    Whether global warming is real or imagined is obviously debatable to some people, but my question is: why would you NOT want to lower your electric bill? Why would you willfully waste water? Why would you be against getting better gas milage in your car? Why would you not want to recycle and stop filling our earth with trash? Don’t you want cleaner air? How can anyone be against these things?

    Reply
  3. wottop

    I don’t care what you think or feel. If you use “gate” on the end of another word to show it is an important issue, I will hunt you down and rip you head off.
    The people who were adults during Watergate are dying off. Let the term go with them.

    Reply
  4. kazoo

    wow, that is awesome, and i’m still shaking with rage about the “debate” about facts and science…if you want to live in a world where 1+2 might equal 3, go form a new clan on one of the trash heaps you’ve created in your image.

    Reply
  5. jason savage

    and lest we forget, Watergate was (is?) a hotel, so it’s not as though “gate” means anything. it’s more like we’re just associating any and all new scandals with the hospitality industry.

    Reply
  6. Ian

    Just a note here: the kerfuffle known as “climategate” (wottop, I share your loathing of “-gate”) has been shown, over and over, to be a crock of shit, and the climate deniers all know it. The continued harping on it defines the essence of disingenuousness and willful ignorance. It would be hilarious, if only our kids’ lives weren’t at stake.
    And Matt, your oft-repeated insistence that you’ll take global warming seriously when I stop flying to basketball games is utterly beneath your deductive powers and only insults yourself. If you’re willing to disregard the collective brainpower of every reputable scientist in the world because I go to North Carolina every March, then we’ve truly taken a turn for the bafflingly absurd.

    Reply
  7. emma

    I have been accused here before of being simplistic (the issue then was capital punishment) bc I go immediately to the conclusion instead of debating the supporting issues. I don’t give a flip about whether there is global warming. I simply want to leave the smallest footprint that I can while I am here on my visit to earth. I think everyone else should do the same.
    The story was great. I could picture it so well in my mind’s eye.

    Reply
  8. bridget

    These days, I think the only appropriate response to Student X, and those like him, is belly shaking laughter and pointing ridicule. Those living in the world of objective fact should stop taking Know-Nothings seriously and get on with the business at hand. Whatever that might be (and there’s a lot of it)…

    Reply
  9. tregen

    Thoughts:
    Correlation does not mean causation;
    Address the root cause anything else is just wasting time;
    If your not willing to sacrife your freedom, job, and life… don’t complain, just enjoy life.

    Reply
  10. Bud

    Um, sometimes causation is pretty obvious. Wet streets didn’t cause the rain. The hotter temperatures of the last 150 years didn’t cause the Industrial Revolution.
    As far as not complaining and enjoying life, that’s fine in a vacuum. But every foot of ocean level rise reduces freedom, costs jobs and worsens life for large numbers of people.
    A civilization powered by sustainable energy will increase and improve freedom, jobs and lives.

    Reply
  11. Matt

    Ian, I didn’t mean to begrudge your travel. Probably no harm in it (that’s what you’re betting, too). But to analogize the question of AGW with simple addition shows a significant lack of understanding or respect for the science involved and, as some critics contends, reveals a faith not unlike that of some religious observers. Lastly, to pretend “Climategate” was a big nothing is just… wow, I don’t even know what to say. Maybe you should check your math. ;)
    Rebecca, I agree with you 100%.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to Ian Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *