Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Like I need to know . . .

When I was in grade school I regularly wondered whether I would ever “need” much of what I was being taught. You know what I’m talking about . . . crap like how to find the area of a parallelogram or how many pairs of chromosomes there are on pig genes (19). I got to thinking about this the other day and was sort of rummaging through the dustbin of my mind, examining some of the useless information I acquired. I can’t believe how much stuff is in my head that I’ll never use. I jotted some of them down.

Here’s a partial list of some of the things I’ve learned that have proven entirely useless to me. I still may get onto a TV game show yet, so there’s hope that some of this crap may come in handy someday. In the meantime, this is utterly useless:

1. How to diagram a gerund (a what?)
2. The capital of all fifty states;
3. Attached earlobes is a dominant trait;
4. Helium is an inert gas;
5. Pluto is (was) the planet farthest from our Sun;
6. The square of anything;
7. Irrational numbers (nuff said);
8. Past perfect tense (and future perfect tense);
9. French;
10. How to calculate the radius of anything;
11. The science behind sublimation;
12. The “A” above middle “C” is tuned to 440 cycles (of what?);
13. Anything involving direct current;
12. The temperature at which water boils (212 F / 100 C)
13. The direction toilets flush below the equator;
14. How much government subsidized milk you can get for a nickel (ok – that was lunch)
15. Animal Farm and any lessons you might glean there from;
16. How many phonemes an infant can distinguish between compared to a 6 year old;
17. The rules of the game of basketball;
18. Anything involving Pi
(that 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097 thing).
19. That problem involving two trains leaving two places at the same time but traveling at different speeds (or cars, or planes or horses . . . );
20. What colors you get when you mix different combinations of primary colors.

Here’s what I absolutely could have afforded to learn in grade school but unfortunately was deprived of this information until it was too late:

1. Nothing good can come from knowing more than your teacher;
2. There is no truth, only perceptions;
3. The golden rule – he who has the gold makes the rules;
4. Being tall and beautiful will just about take care of any problem you might have;
5. There’s no justice – just us;
6. It CAN happen to me;
7. Everything, everything, everything is negotiable;
8. The President of the United States is NOT your friend;
9. Voting is like choosing between a stick in the eye or a punch in the gut;
10. There is a force in this universe much more powerful than me.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I think Animal Farm is pretty instructive-- everyone is (or can be) a pig, and vice versa.

Dennis said...

Is that the "Woman hear me roar" voice? or are we just speaking generally now? :-)

paul maurice martin said...

Those are good. Here's are a couple from my post graduate education, a time of equally crucial learning...

Shortly after graduating I was reminded that I was in - oh man, I forgot... the Phi Beta Kappa Society? Let's call it that, it's been a while... because I received a newsletter from them.

This continued every month for about ten years.

The newsletter informed you all about people who'd recently been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, newly elected Phi Beta Kappa officials, and special Phi Beta Kappa Awards given to older looking Phi Beta Kappa members. I think the awards were for nominating new Phi Beta Kappa members.

It seemed to be a sort of attic, or crawl space, of the Ivory Tower.

The other thing I got - this was after grad school - was a monthly Magazine for Young Mennonites. I did go to divinity school, but it wasn't Mennonite and I never was a Mennonite. I did have a friend who was Mennonite.

I continued receiving the Magazine for Young Mennonites until I was about thirty nine.

Al said...

I am shocked about how much you remember. I don't think I could have come up with barely half of your number.

I think the biggest thing I learned is that most friendships are temporary, changing with the tide and the color of the shoes you chose to wear on some random Tuesday in October (always the WRONG color).

Dennis said...

Al: You're wise beyond your years! But I'll share another secret with you . . . not only is EVERYTHING temporary, everything is also timeless all at the same time. When you understand that, you will have acomplished much.