I recently received this e-mail, Teacher arrested at JFK, from a relative in Dallas, and I felt that it should be disseminated as widely as possible. It was very difficult to confirm with Snopes because of the profusion of articles dealing with the arrest of teachers including arrests for DUI, indecent exposure, drug theft, leading prayer, dealing crack, having sex with minors, early dismissal, slaying stepdaughter, brainwashing kids, kicking students in karate class, murdering another teacher, etc., etc.
The scope of these arrests and their reasons reflect poorly on our historically vaunted teaching profession, but they comprise an infinitesimal part of the whole—they amount to no more than the teeny-weeniest part of the iceberg’s tip. The greater part of the educational iceberg is comprised of teachers that are largely and historically overlooked and underpaid. They are the ones that work and fight in the trenches, the ones that dedicate their days, their nights and their lives to helping families and other elements of society mold students into outstanding adults, and the ones that are in a great measure successful in their efforts.
The story of the teacher’s arrest is untrue, of course, but it’s funny and it’s very creative, obviously penned by someone familiar with mathematics (I’m not very familiar with mathematics, but would like to believe that I’m familiar with creativity in the written word). I am using it in this posting because it enables me to expound on my feelings and my respect for teachers—and I feel that I’m qualified to express my feelings and my respect because I’ve been paddled by some of the very best—seriously!
This is the story as I received it in an e-mail:
Teacher arrested at JFK
A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International Airport when he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a compass, a slide-rule and a calculator.
At a morning press conference Attorney General Eric Holder said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement. The man was not identified, but the Attorney General said that he has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.
“Al-Gebra is a problem for us,” Attorney General Holder said.
“They derive solutions by means and extremes, and they sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values.”
“They use secret code names such as “X” and “Y” and refer to themselves as “unknowns,” but we have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval, with coordinates in every country.
“As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, “There are three sides to every triangle.” (The Snopes article added the following item: The teacher was found carrying code books written in an arcane language called “calculus,” which the NSA is currently attempting to decode)
When asked to comment on the arrest President Obama said, “If God had wanted us to have weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes.”
White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the President.
It is believed that the Nobel Prize for Physics will follow. (This was not included in the Snopes article)
The comment attributed to President Obama was attributed by Snopes to Hillary Clinton as follows:
When asked to comment on the arrest, Senator Hillary Clinton said, “If nature had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, she would have given us more fingers and toes.”
House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or more profound statement by the senator.
On a personal note, I believe that neither President Obama nor Hillary Clinton made the statement. I don’t believe it because the statement is funny, and neither person is capable of exhibiting that level of humor. I have not detected one whit of humor in either person at any time since they stepped into the national spotlight.
Those that laugh when a person says something intended to be funny are not always laughing with them—quite often they are laughing at them.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.