nerdical seepage

When I was studying Calculus BC and Precalculus (both at the same time, after having passed my Calculus AB exam the previous year; don't ask, but if you went to a school run on Caribbean rules it'll totally make sense to you), I became rather obsessed with math. I won't claim I was awesome at the subject, but it certainly captivated me. I became so enraptured with the rules and logic of it all, that it started to leak into other areas of my life.

The one thing I really recall clearly is a compulsive urge to factorize sentences. I'd sit in English class, looking at something like this:

I am at a rodeo.

... and feel the impulse to make it more efficient, as in:

I a(m + t + 1) rodeo.

Now, I'm sure you'll agree that this is much more sensible. Of course, it went beyond simple factorization. When confronted with this:

We went over to London for the day.

... I immediately noticed the obvious method of simplification:

We $\frac{went}{to}$ London for the day.

= We $\frac{we\cancel{n}\cancel{t}}{\cancel{t}o Lo\cancel{n}don}$ for the day.

= We $\frac{we}{o Lodon}$ for the day.

= $\frac{(we)^2}{o Lodon}$ for the day.

Again, perfectly logical, though it is perhaps wise that I did not share these ideas with my friends at the time.

Luckily, I left that particular urge behind in high school, after I stopped studying math. That's not to say that the process ended, though. Nerdical seepage, or the process of habits picked up as a nerd being carried over to other areas of life, is not something one simply cures.

For example, after high school I got into programming in a big way.

Now, I'm sure it will not have escaped your notice that programming requires a fair amount of typing. It is a regrettable lack in my education that I was never taught to touch-type, so I constantly make mistakes while typing. I have compensated for this by liberal and unthinking usage of the backspace and CTRL-Z; anyone who is as sucky a typist as I am would say, without fear of hyperbole, that CTRL-Z is perhaps the single greatest invention in the history of mankind. I must use it hundreds, maybe thousands of times a week. Of course, there is a price for this convenience - nerdical seepage.

I am a klutz. I routinely knock things over as I am trying to pick them up - empty bottles topple to the floor, umbrellas slip off the edges of the tables they hang from, and pens are flung off desks. In this situation, what do I do? Well, obviously, I pick up the object in question. But not to use it for whatever purpose I had intended to use it for, oh no - I carefully place it back in the exact position it was in before my fumbling digits launched it into the air, and re-pick it up. In other words, I CTRL-Z it.

Another example, you say? Fine.

I've recently started teaching again. As a teacher I make lesson plans, notes about what I want to teach. And I've started using regular expressions in these notes.

This would be unremarkable if I were teaching programming, but I'm teaching English. And it hasn't supplanted all the other weird things I already do (nerdical seepage is an ongoing and utterly ineluctable process), I've merely incorporated the new bits into a bizarre Frankenstein's monster of private notational language:

I like bananas, apples and grapes.

... becomes:

I like [$x$]([, $x$]*[and $x$])?. { $x$ | $x$ == [category:fruit]}

It's possible that I've lost my mind. Oh, well. At least I can be fairly confident that nobody will steal my notes.

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