Do you remember the eighth grade? That cute blonde that sat right behind you but one row over? You know, the one with a brother already in high school and two sisters in junior high? Yeah, that one. Let’s call her Virginia.
Virginia saw you looking back at her at a reverse 45 degree angle, negative 45 degrees. And she looked right back at you by rotating her head and neck 45 degrees to the left, or 135 degrees off her positive X positional axis. Which was okay, for a while.
But when old Miss Abercrombie (age unknown) caught you tossing a crumpled up note through 180 degrees of vertical arc right off your 135 degree mark, she had a fit. Not because you tossed the note and not because Virginia caught it either. No, things like that never bothered this stout old teacher. She was tenured and about to retire, why correct the unworthy? And besides, she was super cool about the whole boy/girl thing.
So, why was she so upset? “On principle,” she had said, “on principle.” Ah yes! Let us not forget our point here: This was math class and angles and graphs and numbers of all kind could be hurled for all they were worth – as long as you knew your numbers.
But you didn’t. That plaid skirt and those bony knees you would remember until the day you died, but you couldn’t think of a single digit when the old crow whacked your desk with her ruler, a tried and true slat of oak that was worn smooth and rounded from years of discipline, worthy and otherwise.
“What do you have to say for yourself, young man? (Tap tap tap.) Well, we’re waiting? Did you hear me? What do you have to say for yourself?” Rat-a-tat-tat, you were on the front line.
Finally, Ginie (as you later came to call her) saved your bacon. “Forty-five, negative 45, 135, 180, ordinate, abscissa” – she was the girl of your dreams. And now she’s yours. Your soul mate and flat mate and partner.
You dream up the games and she does the layout on an oversize easel of sorts, a drafting board from the days of yore. She has a spring mounted drafting arm with dials and digits, and lots of architect’s scales, each one triangular in cross section. Ginie prefers to draw in perspective but does isometric drawings just for you, her boy, her man.
So, aren’t you glad you didn’t know the numbers back then? Or were you only pretending, just to get her to help you with game layout?