Hello, is this thing on?

How is it that someone like me, i.e. with substantial geek tendencies, goes this long without blogging? At one time, I surely thought that the young whippersnappers were wasting their time with this blogging thing. I mean, get real, who’s gonna read this crap? It turns out lots of people do.

The real surprise to me, though, was not that people write and read blogs. The surprise is the community that blogging builds around ideas and projects. I completely missed that, and it’s *the* thing.

So, I have a confession: I really do want to blog. I’ve wanted to for a while from the depths of my virtual data closet. I have a deep yearning to say something important, profound, consequential, insightful. But what?

At cathartic times like this, I turn to two people. First, there’s Curly, my erstwhile Wonder Bread Zen master and hero, who exclaimed “I keep trying to think but nothing happens.” Exactly — too much thinking.

Then there’s Dr. Jack Pribnow, my high-school honors calculus teacher. He was the one who told me to not think too hard about a calculus proof before diving in. I was actually quite good at calculus proofs, but every once in a while one would stump me. Dr. Pribnow insightfully told me that my problem was that I wanted to see the whole thing done before I started. He was right: I hated “mistakes” so much that I didn’t start down the path.

So, this first post is for Curly and Jack (er, respectfully, Dr. Pribnow) and for their lessons that I repeat to myself often. Here’s to leaping before I look and not thinking too hard about it.

1 thought on “Hello, is this thing on?”

  1. Mr. Pribnow was my freshmen algebra teacher in 1956 in North Chicago, Illinois; he was also the tennis coach and I wanted to impress him both in the classroom and on the court. ( But in the end I don’t think I impressed him in either category; it’s pretty hard to impress someone in freshman algebra–and our tennis team was terrible.)

    Still, I really liked Mr. Pribnow and I learned a lot from him. I recall him often staring at the board, shaking the chalk in his left hand, and then approaching the board with some new
    attack on the problem. I recall him being a lefty, and I have no idea why this has stuck in my mind all of these years. He taught me freshmen algebra, but what I think what I learned most from him was to think a bit before starting a problem, and to look back at your answer once you have completed the problem.

    I went on to become a mathematics educator and I attribute the kindling of my interest in mathematics and teaching to Mr. Pribnow A few years ago I tracked him down and wrote him a letter. He wrote back saying that he vaguely remembered me, but maybe he was just being kind.

    Anyway, after all of these years, he is still in my mind. If you happen to see him, please give him my regards; he still remains an inspiration to me.

    BTW, is the picture on your site that of Mr. Pribnow or of Curly?

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