Humor and reality make good bedfellows, don’t you think? Take one of my favorite expressions. I went to law school to avoid math and science. So true, and at least I think, so funny. Although the science and math geeks probably deleted this post, and unsubscribed to my blog, I’m hoping the rest of you will read on. It’s only natural to gravitate towards the things that we like and avoid the stuff that confounds us. My hypothesis is: most people don’t like to dangle outside of their comfort zone.
I smugly believed that my days of struggling through math equations and science labs were part of my past. The waaay past, as in ancient history, as in B. C, Before Computers. After all, I have ten fingers and ten toes, plus a calculator. That should cover my aversion to all things math. As for science, the only projects I had to tackle were the ones left behind in the vegetable crisper. But alas, along with science and math, and reason and order, the universe has a way of flinging stuff back at us to keep us on our toes.
My metaphorical meteor shower came in the guise of 8th grade math and Accelerated Earth Science. Yes, I kid you not. A double whammy. The kid can count on me to review Social Studies. I actually enjoy discussing the Immigration Laws of 1921 and 1924 and their effects on a changing society. My mind, however, freezes over when faced with an algebraic equation. Luckily, the kid, loves math and doesn’t need me to toss him my calculator.
Earth Science, may sound warm and approachable, but for me it’s like entering a strange new universe. Unfortunately, I had no choice but to boldly go where I had so arduously avoided before….
The faraway galaxy in this case, is acing, OK, passing, the Regents Exam in June. I needed directions. Clearly, MapQuest was not going to help me out of this jam. I started by calling the teacher. She probably detected the panic in my voice and said, the worst thing is for a parent to attempt to teach her kid Earth Science. Not wanting to be part of a doomed experiment, I promised to leave the teaching to the experts.
Never the less, when at 7 o’clock on Sunday night, with the Unit One chapter test, looming brighter than Polaris in the Big Dipper, I had no choice but to crack open the review book and try to lend a hand. We had to figure out a ship’s longitude when the time of day for this ship is 12 noon and the time of day at the Prime Meridian (0⁰ longitude) is 5 p.m.
Say what? Fortunately, the math whiz already had the longitude down by multiplying the time difference between the intrepid sail boat and Greenwich Time by 15⁰. The tricky part was determining if it was 75⁰ West or 75⁰ East. Here’s where the lawyer part of me kicked in. I read the rule and relayed it to my client.
“Go West, young Man!” I said dramatically connecting Horace Greeley with Earth Science.
For inquiring minds, and because I learned it so shall you, the rule is: if local time is earlier than Greenwich Time, your position is west of the prime meridian or west longitude. If local time is later than Greenwich Time, your position is east of the prime meridian or east longitude.
Although I recently blogged that Old Dogs Can’t Learn New Tricks, this post will be filed under Wonders Never Cease.
Just call me Magellan.