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The Geometry Test

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  • Stan Kegel
    I remember that in high school I suffered from an acute fear of mathematics. Most specifically, this manifested during my first geometry course. I just
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2009
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      I remember that in high school I suffered from an acute fear of
      mathematics. Most specifically, this manifested during my first
      geometry course. I just couldn't bring myself to get with the program.

      Until mid-terms, I was pretty much able to bluff it.

      Some friends of mine formed a support group for me and we would meet
      after school in an attempt to overcome my fears. Coming up on the big
      test though, I knew I was in trouble.

      Usually, I like to consider myself a fairly honest person. But the
      distinction between honesty and it's evil counterpart blurred that
      semester when an acquaintance who shall remain nameless handed me the
      very geometry test I was supposed to take the next day... with all the
      answers.

      That night, in the (dis) comfort of my room, I pondered. What should I
      do?

      I probably should just take the lumps and suffer through the
      humiliation of a bad grade. But fear of parental retribution and a
      huge drop in my grade point average managed to convince me that,
      although that is what I *should* do, it is decidedly not what I
      *would* do.

      I settled for a happy medium. I would look at the answers (purely as a
      study guide, you understand) the next day during classes, but would
      not take them to the test with me.

      Feeling that strange rush of a moral dilemma solved on the somewhat
      hazy side of honesty, I decided to study the notes that night, as well.

      I went to the kitchen to fix myself a snack and laid the answer sheet
      out on the counter, next to the cookbooks.

      With the previously described energy burst, I knew that no simple
      snack would do, so I rummaged in the cupboards.... ah. Jell-O (tm)
      desserts. I hate that jiggly stuff though. Let's go with tapioca.

      I laid the pouch down next to the cookbooks, while I got out the
      requisite utensils. It was the best tapioca I have ever tasted.
      Creamy, smooth, a thumbs up effort to be sure.

      Satisfied, and with all else forgotten, I went to bed.

      The next day, I arrived at school feeling somewhat chipper.

      My first class was German, where I was the teacher's assistant. This
      consisted largely of sitting in the back of the room and looking aloof
      when the other students had questions. A perfect opportunity for study.

      I rummaged through my book bag looking for the answer sheet.

      Hmmm... I found my math book. Pencils. Various scraps of paper with
      "to do" lists on them.

      Oh no! It wasn't there. What was I going to do?

      I retraced my steps in my mind, trying to figure out where I could
      have left it. Let's see, the last time I had it out, where was I?

      Suddenly, it occurred to me. I could only bury my head in my hands and
      sob.

      The last time I had seen that sheet was last night in the kitchen, but
      it wasn't there this morning.

      That could only mean one thing. The proofs were in the pudding.
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