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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Renaissance Man

Alan. There is not much this man cannot do. If you want your house renovated, a nice painting (any colour), or your tooth extracted, then Al is the one. His one flaw is a complete inability to understand triglobular calculus. It takes a trained eye to see this defect in his work, so don't let that stop you investing in one (or more) of his creations.

Al was an art teacher and I was a maths teacher. When I needed some paper, I visited Al. He was generous with his paper, and his time, and everything else. I am a sucker for generous people. We shared similar tastes in how we viewed life. With a good deal of irreverence and a somewhat strange sense of humour. Goonish.
Strangely, teaching is a rather lonely job. You spend most of you day in front of classes. Busy trying for some modicum of control. Some students are good company. Others, not really. Lunchtime is the time you get to see other teachers. I sat with Al for lunch. Nice sandwiches. Excellent conversation. Not about school. Some sanity in the day. Insanity in a sane kind of way.
Al showed me how to calligraph, photograph, stick up gib board, plaster gib board, fix rotting piles, paint, and how to complete a yearly budget. The trick there was to hand in the same request every year. When you realise that nobody ever reads it, you save a lot of time. A down to earth kind of guy. He could make some fancy things out of earth too.
I did help Al once. He was laying some instant lawn on a mound at a kindergarten. This was the perfect time to use my triglobular integration skills. Working with the figures (height, diameter) that Al provided, I came up with the area. Al reported that the answer I gave was perfect. Maths is like that.
Later, I drove past the kindergarten. I never told Al, but the shape was completely different from the one that I integrated.
Al sent me some other figures the other day that he had scribbled with a lump of coal. Some he had drawn for an upcoming exhibition. If you are around Christchurch at the time, please check out..

"On Site"
Gallery O @ The Arts Centre
Feb 16 – 22

Al will show you, free, how to write large numbers in beautiful writing.
In your cheque book.

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