Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Slipper Still Fits

Life is too important to be taken seriously. Oscar Wilde

Calculus is best studied wearing the appropriate uniform. Not many people know this (if they do, they hide it well.) For students of calculus, the right uniform is a sign of independence; it says to the world, “Yes, I run with irrational numbers and am proud of it.”

Even more important, the calculus uniform reminds the wearer that life is not all limits and derivatives; it’s also integrals. It is particularly valuable if one encounters an indefinite integral in an alley on a dark night. One glance at the uniform will unravel all but the most undifferentiable function. (As well it should; I mean, what is a function doing out at night past its bedtime?)

Of all the uniforms I have worn, the calculus uniform is one of my favorites. Once in a while, I take it out and put it on just to make sure it still fits. It does, like Cinderella’s glass slipper.

Oh, the world is full of zanies and fools, who don’t believe that calculus rules.
And who don’t believe what calculus people say.
But despite these daft and dewy-eyed dopes who haven’t any calculus hopes,
Calculus keeps on happening everyday.

(Rodgers and Hammerstein wore their calculus uniforms secretly. Not many people know this.)

No comments:

Post a Comment