Friday, June 03, 2005

from Porn to Precalc

Today we caught our loud friend looking at porn, so the security guard helped us ban him from the computers. What does he do? Pulls a precalc book off the shelf to read.

[*Note to Marian (who no longer works at this branch, so sad)-- this = the attention starved guy who wears the blue baseball cap with the white stripes.]

Thanks to a colleague, blue cap guy finds out I know math. He asks me to explain the concept of limits. Like, if f(x) = (x + 2)/x for all x except zero and is undefined at f(0), what is the limit as x --> c. First, he can't grasp the concept of f(x). And what is c? Then he is totally confused that there are 2 x's in the equation. Can that really be? I graph it and explain that there is a hole in the graph at the point x=0. Way beyond him. (Why the juice did he pick up a precalc book? Why didn't he just go home?) He returns several times for more "help."

He tells me there is really no such thing as a negative number. It is just a way to rationalize the idea so people can understand. Also, the concept of zero is bogus. Zero is really an infinite idea.

Uh huh, I hear ya. You're a candidate to become a mathematician. You're so logical.


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Um, yeah, what is the limit of you as you continue to approach the desk?

There's a reason I'm not a math teacher. I have no patience for these people who claim it is way over their head when all they need to do is TRY.

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