by Jared Hohl
I had a full day of proofreading anthologies of poetry from New York City 5th graders. That’s the beginning of an excuse to explain why I failed so miserably at a simple math problem. The poetry of NYC 5th graders, by the way, is astounding. This probably goes for 5th graders everywhere. I’m not really sure. But how else can one account for excerpts like this:
I am also in Hawaii eating pineapple
while my clone is making lakes
When I think of you
my song goes up loud
After the proofreading I went around dropping off PR materials for a new French film adaptation of Lady Chatterly’s Lover and after that I was up in Harlem tutoring a 5th grader unrelated to the poetry ones, but equally amusing. He calls me Mr. Chips and insists I call him Dr. Chips. He also claims to be “mad faster than Sonic.”
The point is that after all of this I came home and was asked to convert square meters into square feet by two Czech friends who were already drinking champagne in my backyard.
The source of this challenge:
A French chef who we all know has just purchased a new apartment in Brooklyn, which he has recently outfitted with a 42″ plasma TV. While on the phone to his nemesis (who lives in Paris) the French chef mentions this TV, to which the nemesis responds, “I have two 42-inch plasma TVs.” Then the French chef says, “That may be, but you should also know that I have just purchased my own apartment here in Brooklyn.” Again, the nemesis responds, “And I have purchased one in Paris. An apartment that is 180 square meters.”
My Czech friends explain this to me and then hit me with the question: “What does 180 square meters convert to in square feet?” Well, I’m sure that any one of those poetic 5th graders can tell you that 1 square meter is about 9 square feet, but after my busy day, a glass of champagne, and an unfiltered cigarette, I foolishly worked under the assumption that 1 square meter equals 3 square feet.
The great Czech genius Lu already knew the answer, but something within my competitive spirit had awakened and I kept arguing that 180 square meters was about 600 square feet until my wife went and got her computer and showed
me the truth, which is to say that I was horribly wrong, Lu had been right all along, and I was making a fool out of myself. I asked to examine the computer just to be sure the conversion program wasn’t outdated or the batteries weren’t too low or some other faulty apparatus hadn’t interfered.
It was a very devastating blow to someone like me, a former recipient of the Victor Sponheimer Math Award.
Jared Hohl is a writer who lives in Brooklyn. He is currently completing his first book, a portion of which can be found in the recently released Apocalypse Reader.
New Black Mountain album, whoo!
Wow, this was not a good article but it did introduce us to tons of new verbiage for cocaine. Our favorite is “Carne” for obvious reasons.
“Mr. Me Too” — Clipse feat. Pharrell
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