The Mathematics Newbie




“Write down all the numbers from 1 to 10”, squawked the teacher while balancing his specs on his aquiline nose. His name was Eagle Frank. The students hurried up and began writing the digits. An uneasy silence fell over the classroom, punctuated only by the intermittent rustling of papers. Eagle hopped through rows of students, flapping his wings and rolling his eyes in all directions. He yelled in anger. “This is so illegible. You will always remain a newbie.” It was yet another dreadful day for Daniel. In place of one, a candle; in place of two, a floating duck, and a parrot made for three. The entire class burst into giggles. *** The next day was geometry. While pecking his hooked beak at the glass of water, Eagle screeched. “Draw geometric shapes today.” With quivering hands and pounding hearts, students started moving their pencils, while Eagle dozed off, but his nictitating membrane rolled up and down to give him a furtive glance at students. Daniel gathered the courage to make a difference this time and started sketching the shapes. “Time is up,”, the teacher thundered, and began examining the work of students. “Michael - that’s OK. Stephen - not so good. Anita - needs a little improvement.”, he said, and then rushed to Daniel. “What a rascal you are!” “Sir, I have drawn a smiling house. The triangle atop a rectangle with two tiny circles inside it and a perpendicular line running downwards as the nose and a semicircle beneath, acting as a smile.”, he replied, with a quaver in his voice. “Scum of the sea, I will throw you back there. This must be your wretched home.”, Eagle squawked and boxed Daniel’s ears forcefully. Daniel pleaded, “Sir. Pardon me; please give me one more chance.” Eagle relented. With wounded pride and teary eyes, the newbie trudged back home. He was carved out for something else, but his fisherman father wanted him to become a marine engineer and pushed him into the dull and lifeless world of mathematics. *** The next day, the principal of the school accompanied Eagle for an inspection. The principal, with an air of wisdom around him, asked the students to demonstrate their skills in algebra and geometry. After all the students handed over their sheets, Daniel hobbled over to the inspector. Eagle squealed with a derisive look at Daniel. “Here is our genius.” The students tittered. The rookie handed out his sheet and dashed out of the classroom. The sheet had no digits, no triangles, and no rectangles. There stood a sea with stormy and undulating waves, and an angry god rising over it, holding a trident in one hand, ready to take on the savage world. *** The next day the games of algebra and geometry recommenced, but one player was missing. The principal recommended the newbie to the country’s most renowned art school, which had churned out some of the greatest artists of all time.   Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!