Friday, April 28, 2000

The Kid with the Calculator

I never got picked on much in high school. This fact has always surprised me a bit, given that I seemed to fit the profile for bullying...bright, not very athletic, not a lot of friends...

I remember one kid in our high school who did get picked on a great deal. He was significantly more awkward than me, and he did a number of things that brought unfavorable attention on himself.
One of these was that he always walked around clutching a calculator. He was teased mercilessly over his calculator. Now, they say that people who are comfortable with who themselves turn out to be the most popular, so maybe it was a healthy behavior for him to be proud of his calculator. On the other hand, he never really seemed very comfortable. And I, who didn't wear my love of math on my sleeve (see, I even wince a little bit typing the phrase "love of math") certainly got hassled a lot less.

But the thing that really got to me was this: it just wasn't a very good calculator. I knew my calculators...the entire TI series, or if you were a real connoisseur, an HP (my coveted HP 28-C was soon obsoleted by the HP 28-S). It just seems to me as if he had proudly driven his new K-Car into the parking lot and spent half an hour polishing it. Dude, if you're going to be an obsessive, do it right. Study up on the subject. I would have felt so much more sorry for him if he actually had a decent calculator.

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