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Einstein’s close shave

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Philosophers continue to sift through the barren wasteland of human experience looking for the key to happiness.

They won’t find it, because I’ve got it.

GOF’s Secret to Happiness is;

Finding someone or something else to blame for every single failure in one’s life.

A cousin on my Mother’s side had such extraordinary scientific and mathematical ability that he was selected to oversee Australia’s rocket launching programs at Woomera in the 1960’s.

It is of course an accepted genetic fact that I too must have inherited the same mathematical gift.

Mine however, according to school report cards, mysteriously disappeared somewhere between 1960 and 1963 after which time I rarely troubled the examiners ability to add up to a percentile number higher than 20.

So, what circumstances changed during this period to which I might allocate blame?

Pubescent GOF suddenly discovered that his previously all-boy’s world was equally populated by cute little humans who were all soft and cuddly, and which obviously required much more observation, examination and exploration.

Excessive devotion to this project apparently caused my arithmetical intelligence to suddenly plummet to the level of two thick planks.

Given the esteem with which The Bucket is held in scientific circles I obviously can’t go around rumour mongering that “girls cause boys to be mathematically dumb”, so let me search through my very private alphabetical list of possible excuses for something else which might satisfy empirical science.
(no looking at my private list please)

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  * *

A,B,C,D... they’re all used up……

Elle MacPherson,… obsession forced upon me.

Fireworks (unlit) stuck up both nostrils in 1958. Surgical removal

Glue…. sniffing and/or misapplication to body parts.  Minor surgery.

Hairspray mistakenly ingested after thinking it was olive oil cooking spray while Mrs GOF was away farnarkling in America.

Inbreeding ….because the big flood killed everyone on Earth except Noah and his Missus.

Jesus Juice aerosol lubricant erroneously used as underarm deodorant for all of 1992.

Kerosene fumes from that day when they arrested me for arson.

Leptospirosis infection; must ask the doctor how I got that.

Mohair….MOHAIR…..WOOHOO  that’s it.

Mohair……inhalation of mohair fibres.

Every cute 14 year-old chick in 1962 wore a mohair sweater.
No exceptions.  Joan Shepherd, my piano duet partner wore one
(I have photographic evidence) and all the girls at the YMCA learn-to-ballroom-dance classes wore them fluffily disguising hidden treasures and forbidden pleasures which were totally beyond my understanding, and sadly, despite much hopeful dreaming, grasp.

Goats and Joan Shepherd are totally responsible for denying me my rightful career in nuclear physics.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


About GOF

"Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it, depends upon what you put into it." (Tom Lehrer)

34 responses »

  1. I’m told Einstein wasn’t very good at maths either, GOF, so you’re in good company. When can we expect the Extra, Extra Special Theory of Relativity? And no, I don’t mean your sudden discovery that you’re related to Elle…

    • Appreciate your knowledge of Einstein Snowy….I just automatically assumed he was a childhood mathematical genius. You and I are BOTH apparently related to Elle if the “Noah Theory” is correct……..I don’t think I’ll pursue this line of thought any further. 😉

  2. Pah, you are a genius it’s just that their stupid questions were designed with idiots in mind and so they foxed you with their ridiculousness because you’re looking for higher meanings. I like to tell myself that’s why I’m shit at maths too. I’m impressed that you still have your report cards from the 60s, you must have an awesome amount of storage space at GOF Towers! And I especially loved your ‘find x’, ‘here it is’ answer. I really don’t see how they could mark that incorrect, the question should have said ‘find the value of x’. You quite literally did find x. You should have complained.

    • Thank you Vicola for your faith in my mathematical genius contrary to all available evidence.
      I’m glad that I kept my old school reports…they make for very interesting reading, and provide nesting spaces and crapping surfaces for cockroaches.

      Very little storage space is required to house the complete results of GOF’s modest education. A shoebox pretty well does the job. 😉

  3. My pathetic math scores were what made me go into history and literature. But LOL the answer to Question 3! I wish I had been that clever when I was taking the graduation exams in high school!

    • I liked the answer to Q 3 too…..We would have got flogged if we’d tried a smart-arse answer like that.

      Looking back at all the other woeful marks I got back then it was quite obvious that my life was never going to involve high academic achievement. 😉

  4. “Jesus Juice” is an aerosol lubricant?!?

    • and I didn’t even know you COULD lubricate aerosols….

      • Drude, it pleases me greatly that this place has become a place of higher learning. 😉

        With a sense of humor like that, you certainly belong here……thanks for the comment…..first smile of the day for me.

    • “Jesus Juice” is the commonly used Aussie term for the standard workshop CRC aerosol lubricant/moisture dispersant because it can fix virtually any mechanical problem.

      • Ahhh… you mean WD-40. One half of a two-component universal tool chest. If it moves and it shouldn’t, use the duct tape. If it doesn’t move and it should, use the WD-40.

        • Yes, yes, yes….that’s the correct term I was searching for….WD-40. Aussies disrespectfully refer to it as Jesus Juice. My universal tool chest additionally contains a heavy geology hammer just in case the other two don’t work quickly enough. 🙂

  5. My math skills are also non-existant, GOF. In the 5th grade, while taking a test on fractions, I began to sob uncontrollably because I couldn’t do the problems. My teacher (whose name was Ima Peddlar believe it or not)……took me out of the classroom to the janitor’s closet (nearest source of water, I guess) to bathe my eyes because I was crying so hard. Thank goodness the rest of my education & career was not dependent on doing fraction problems!!

    • Actually my basic math skills weren’t all that bad. I note that the “class average” for Maths 1 was 30% and for Maths 2, 46%. That surely must be more a reflection on the teacher than us kids.

      My problem area was algebra……never “got” it then, nor do I understand it now.

      Traumatic moments like yours at school certainly do remain with us for life……at least it seems Ima Peddlar was a caring and compassionate teacher.

  6. Oh MY, this is funny!

    Just don’t forget to trim the mohairs in your nostrils!

  7. You actually could blame the discovery of girls! The studies are showing now that classes with just guys and just girls perform better on tests. Some schools are beginning to have all boy math classes and the like. So, maybe you were just ahead of your time, in noticing that the discovery of girls had an inverse affect on your math scores.

    • Thanks Freedom for these supportive facts. I can certainly understand why girls would perform better academically in classrooms without disruptive “boy behavior”. My woeful maths marks might have been even worse had there been girls to distract me in my school. Doesn’t bear thinking about. 😉

  8. I’m very encouraged by the fine mathematically-challenged company I’m keeping here… that’s why I’ve got the Queen to hand me my pocket money and manhood each morning as I head out to earn a few shillings. She counts them, too, as I trudge home from the coal mine.

    • Everything’s good Ninja so long as the Queen continues to allocate sufficient shillings for you to switch those magnetos to “BOTH” and fly off into distant CAVOK. 🙂

      • Haha! I’ll be fiddling those dials again tomorrow for Navex 6. Man, this training thing is taking soooo long and the dull ache of this final stretch is becoming a bloody nuisance!

        • Stick with it Ninja……just keep sight of that total freedom to fly at the end…..ain’t nothin’ else like it in the world. Good luck with your navex.

  9. You excelled in Social Studies GOF…why am I not surprised?

    • Thanks CC….but I’m not convinced that 74% is actually “excelling”……have to admit however that I have always found social studies interesting.

      • Compared to your maths results it is definitely excelling GOF *grins*
        Well above class average too…

        You remind me of my eldest son – last year he topped his year at school in one subject – Circus!! Yes, he was the official class clown. (They have a very comprehensive program at the school and he came out more than capable of doing all sorts of wonderful “tricks”. I choose not to mention the more academic subjects on his report…)

        • Congratulations to your son…..he can make a career out of entertainment these days.

          I only tried “clowning” once in Grade 3 and I got a very bad allergic reaction…a two inch wide painful red welt across the palm of my hand. 🙂

  10. Ah, well. You have an excuse.

    They told me I was lazy and hit me til I was 18–then, gave me the “special test” and found I had a learning disability. If they’d bothered years earlier, I’d have been given special training. Prolly didn’t want to be in Those Classes anyway but still.

    My true maths grade was 14% (60% was the lowest passing score for the year). My teacher told me she used “creative calculations” and gave me a 60, telling me I tried harder than any student she’d ever seen.

    Graduated highest in my class at uni…no maths classes. Unfortunately, the real world requires maths!

    • Fortunately school academic results are not an infallible indicator of success in later life.
      I think I was also the recipient of some favorable “creative calculations” exam results in later years.

      My biology and botany lecturer consistently gave me 98%’s which I suspect were because I was the only student in the class who attended his church services. 🙂

      Congratulations on your uni achievements….I agree the real world requires maths ….but algebra? Never ever found a real use for that.

  11. For the sake of scientific creditbility for The Bucket, GOF, I must point out that this argument will be a total fail if you have in successive years been able to play tunes on the piano. Because if the contents of the mohair sweater, sitting within inches of you was not a total distraction, I don’t know what would have been. 😉

    (Oh, and on that note I just remembered I should post a few Nigella photos, eh?)

    • Thank you for being concerned for my credibility Emmy, and reminding me what the nearby mohair sweater might have contained. That might explain why we came last at all the competitions we entered, causing her to dump me as her partner. 🙂

      Please don’t let me discourage you from posting more Nigella pictures…..but I will only casually notice them because I am more concerned with learning the wonderful recipes you invariably post along with those pictures. Right.

  12. No Latin scores GOF?

    We copped that from the nuns when the girls did singing. I would have prefered singing.

    The only time it helped was when I joined the RAAF who have the motto “Per Ardua ad astra” which is Through adversity to the stars.

    I think it should be your motto too. After all those angelic distractions.

    An even harder start is living near cashmere sweaters. They hide nothing and look extremely cuddly.

    • No Latin at Tech School Pete….they just wanted to get us out into the world building houses and fixing up cars. I am interested in it now to discover the roots of our modern language.

      I think we’d better stop thinking about cashmere and mohair Pete. Too many memories of lost opportunities. 🙂

      Best wishes on your Per Ardua ad astra journey.

  13. You were really good at Social Studies though. I wonder how “Solid” Geometry differs from plain old Geometry? In my HSC trial exam I got a dismal result of 13 out of 150 for Science! The teacher told my parents that he’d given me a mark for being able to write my name correctly; they hired him to tutor me for the time between trial and real HSC (which I passed).

    • I’m not sure about the difference between the “geometries” Emjay.

      After my 19% result, my parents also sent me to a math tutor for the remainder of the year, after which i passed the exam.


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