Applying for jobs forces me to attempt to look nice. So, on my way to tutor some rich kid in a subject that they don’t need tutoring, I saw that there was a barbershop serving up $5 haircuts done by students. I had over half an hour until I had to meet my student so I thought there would be no harm in stopping in and getting my mane trimmed so that I looked like a presentable member of society.
After being forced to sign a paper, having to hand $5 to a person who just pocketed the cash, and being seated with the loser kid at the end of the barber shop I decided to attempt to relax and have a good conversation with my haircuttist. I always feel uncomfortable at the barber because I don’t know how to extend conversations without bringing up offensive material. If someone asks me how the weather is, my response is to make fun of their inability to form a substansive line of questioning. If someone asks me what I do for a living, I become defensive about my lack of job prospects. So instead I answer in one word format like “Hot” or “Yeah” and then add after a pause my attempt at a question: “right?” I overcompensate for my usual disagreeabilty with uber agreeability.
I shouldn’t have worried about that with this student of the hair trimming arts. After wishing him a Happy New Year because of my observation of his yarmulke, my man with the scissors started ranting to be about how he doesn’t want to be a barber, but he doesn’t have any money because Obama and CNN have aren’t paying attention to the poor, because Obama only got elected because he went to Jerusalem during primaries and how come the Jews haven’t received that luck because the world still hates them because Palestinian children are given guns while American children are given Spongebob Squarepants, and did you know that because I signed that sheet on my way in he can kill me by accident and not be liable. The whole time, Zohan kept trimming half-millimeters at a time of my hair.
After 40 minutes of rigid fear, I finally told him that I had to go to a meeting and that the haircut he gave me: an uneven mullet, was perfect. He followed me out the door with his scissors attempting to trim edges to make it even more uneven and I ran as fast as I could to the Barnes and Noble to teach a high-school girl about horizontal asymtotes.
This is where I throw down the math metaphor (beware, I haven’t thought of it yet, but it’ll come as I write). Horizontal asymptotes are the representation of something never ending. As x (which is often used as a measure of time) goes to infinity, the function approaches some number but never quite reaches it. The proof I showed my student was a proof about how the function f(x)=1/x doesn’t truly have an asymptote even though it looks like it does because the function does not approach zero fast enough, whereas f(x)= 1/x^n where n is any integer greater than 1 does have a horizontal asymptote of zero because it does approach zero fast enough. This is an oversimplification but there is mathematical reason behind the words “fast enough.” Zohan’s conversations masqueraded as a function with an n larger than 1, but they were not and they never seemed to reach a conclusion “fast enough.”
Ugh. I just wrote this and while editing decided to check up on the woman whose performance I’m seeing tonight only to find that she also wrote about getting her haircut. I’m unoriginal.