Monday, February 27, 2006

The Confusion of Science

The surfer told me that I had a boring name. He liked that. He had a boring name too.

He wasn’t very good at History, which was strange. He fine at every other subject. To not be good at History seemed as unlikely and severe as not remembering when your favorite TV show was on. There were TV Guides for that. People to remind you. And the whole thing about history repeating itself being some big threat... It didn’t seem to bother him.

His dad was a surfer. One of the first. He brought his camera and his long board and filmed himself drinking out of coconuts with tan people all over the world. That’s how his dad met his mom. She was from Fiji. Daughter of the American Ambassador. His mom drove him to the beach every morning and made sure that he didn’t have to have a homeroom or first period. He was so inscrutable that everyone knew about and didn’t complain. The girls marveled over it the same way they did when they discovered the secret location of Kirk Cameron’s house. I found it somewhat fascist.

“It’s just all the names and the events. I don’t get how the go together. It’s confusing,” he explained after I stared at him for a whole minute across his dining room table. His mother had called mine, offered me $15 for two hours to tutor him, Brian Blanch. That was the surfer’s name.

My mom told me about it in a way that let me know that I didn’t have a choice. She knew Mrs. Blanch somehow. Something charityish.

I’d only noticed that Brian had the same history teacher that I did, a period before me. I’d never noticed him notice me, though. But he had. The whole situation said such.

“What’s confusing?” I said.

“Well, it’s not like something that’s confusing in Science. Then you just have to figure it out. With History, you can’t figure it out. You have to read it,” Brian Blanch said.

“Do you read it?”

“Usually, but it doesn’t help.”

It was a cause and effect thing. He didn’t see how it linked up. How a Gold Standard might connect to a war to an attitude toward temperance. And I did. Of course I did, I was a nerd. There was no chance of this Jew standing up on water with or without a board.

“Yeah, I wish I could help you. I don’t really get it either,” I said.

He looked at me blankly, a thought pinballing around his brain. Could I be lying?

I just stared back. I didn’t say anything till he went and got his mom. She gave me the $15 and was so nice showing me the way out that I knew she’d never speak to my mother again.

Listen to Cut Your Hair by Pavement via You Ain't No Picasso.


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