I think I went to school. I think I learned some things there, but I can’t seem to remember what any of them are … or is it “were” … or maybe “be.” See?!? What has happened to my grasp of knowledge, and smart things.
This all occurred to me while attending the open house at my daughter’s school. We were listening to a presentation by her science teacher. She was discussing videos the kids could watch at home. When she mentioned “Mythbusters,” I tuned in to hear: “… and parents can watch, too, brushing up on things like Newton’s law of conservation of energy.”
Some of the parents chuckled at this. I did, too. But truth is I didn’t know Newton was in to recycling back then. In fact, I didn’t know they had batteries. Did they put them in a separate box from the plastics and the paper?
I mean, I know I must have learned about this in the fancy, expensive private schools I attended. I’m also certain that if my parents read this column, they’ll realize it would have been cheaper and easier to just light all their money on fire.
I really don’t think of myself as the opposite of “smart.” I have an advanced degree and people often say, “Hey Brian, what’s something smart you can add to this?” (Although, come to think of it, they’re usually laughing and make those floating quote marks with their fingers as they say “smart.”)
But certain bits of knowledge seem to escape me. For instance … what does “for instance” mean? And has anyone in history had the occasion to use a2 + b2 = c2. I mean, I’ve never been to a party where someone screamed, “Oh my gosh, someone quick … make some c2!”
Shoot, not only do I fail to understand how this applies to real life, but I couldn’t even type the darn thing correctly for this column. I had to go on Google and search: “dumb dad doesn’t know how to type a squared plus b squared equals c squared only not as words but using those weird symbol thingies that look like tiny little numbers levitating above the letters as if they’re magical or superheroes.”
Google’s answer was, “Go back to middle school, dummy!”
Or a co-worker’s report that said something about being “empathic” to students. I nearly replied: “trying to read students’ minds is illegal and highly discouraged because the government wants to keep telepathy all to itself.” When I Googled “empathic,” I learned I was one dumb question away from a restraining order.
Am I getting dumber? Is it “use it or lose it” syndrome? And if my daughter is only in sixth grade, what am I going to do when she hits high school? I may need a tutor just so I can pretend to help her with homework. Or maybe I’ll watch some “Mythbusters” videos. Bet they can teach me how to type complex equations I’ll never use.