Hypotenuseless Harry

Harry thought oh what’s the use
Of finding a hypotenuse
And never bothered with the notion
Of preimage or rigid motion

Dismissed it’s value in his life
Till wanting to find him a wife
A lovely girl asked was he able
To build for her a coffee table

But no means could he dare to wangle
No concept of congruent angles
All of it seemed so complex
He couldn’t comprehend vertex

He tried to dazzle her with sports
But could do nothing of the sort
In fact he clearly was inept
At grasping just basic concepts

At basketball he had no clues
To throw at angles called obtuse
And at baseball – a total waste
He couldn’t even find home base

They thought him a complete moron
Since he knew not a pentagon
Or maybe if he had the smarts
To get a job in graphic arts

All that remained a mystery
Could not find points of symmetry
Or any sort of transformation
Or the center of dilation

So Harry’s fate he would bemoan
He was destined to die alone
All because he failed to see
The value of geometry

Which could have been the key to save
Harry from his lonely grave
Where he forever laid to rest
Not knowing it’s height, width, or depth

My son had an extra credit project over the holidays to write a poem about how geometry comes in handy in every day life. This is my take on it.

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99 thoughts on “Hypotenuseless Harry

  1. Wow! Love this, Marissa. I would definitely give you an A for this assignment. Actually, this is one geometry teachers should hand out to their students at the beginning of term!

  2. I paid no attention to geometry in school, since I was destined to be a rock star. Well, since that hasn’t happened, I can’t tell you how much I would have loved to know geometry a bit better when I was cutting baseboards this past week.

    • OH yeah, I always glazed over in math class myself. Always thinking about where I was last night and where I was gonna go that night. Luckily, I don’t have to spend much time cutting baseboards.

  3. I did very well in school – a straight A student – with 2 exceptions. Geometry and physics. Clueless. Hopelessly unable to grasp the concepts.

    You could imagine my frustration when years later I found myself in the awkward position of having to calculate the volume of a cylinder at work. Sometimes I think the universe is laughing at us.

  4. Oh my goodness, Marissa! Now, tell me how did you come up with all these geometric combinations? I understand about your son but you really showed a great amount of knowledge while being very funny, too. Poor Harry not being able to figure out what angle he needed to get basketball through the hoops. But then I had to laugh out loud at his inability to find home base! Take me to your (baseball) diamond would probably not mean getting a ring on my finger! xoxo
    I liked geometry it was algebra which I was totally “flummoxed” by! πŸ˜€

    • Well, for a simple answer to your question Robin, I did a lot of googling, ha, ha!! You are probably the only commenter so far to say that you liked geometry. Did you do well in the class? I think it just doesn’t sit well with a creative mind.

      • I did better at Geometry than those “pesky” story problems and Algebra Trigonometry. (A.T.)
        I got in major trouble with my smarty pants Dad for getting a “C-” in A. T. class.

      • Yeah, it’s bit easier because you can think about it more in practical terms. I don’t get mad at my son when he does badly in math as long as it’s just because he honestly doesn’t understand and not because he’s goofing off!

  5. Loved your poem, Marissa. It triggered a desire to investigate “rigid motion” which sounds like a paradox. A clock is rigid motion, but time is not. I knew the concept, but it was just the term that was unfamiliar or had been buried under years of living. Actually, of all the different sections of math, geometry is my favorite. You see it in nature and art all the time.

  6. Pingback: Beyond Geometry | Stuff and what if…

  7. Hehe who knew that you’re son’s class project would inspire a poem?! πŸ™‚ I do wish poor Harry was better at geometry though…! I’m giggling, which I’ve missed while I’ve been away from your blog. Happy New Year!

  8. Everyone seems so afraid to be alone, and die alone, in every shape and form. I love shapes, mostly squares, how about you?

  9. Before I even finished, I knew that this must have been inspired by teenage homework. So, sister, got anything for linear equations or coefficient expressions?
    BTW: Thank you! Thank you for the kind words over at my site this week. I’ll be over to respond later, but wanted you to know how much I truly adore you, your poetry, and your kindness. Thank you, Marissa!

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