ax2 + bx + c = 0
I’ll let you math geeks figure this one out. But for me that little piece of algebra was a connection to a man that I loved dearly – my uncle Wayne.
Wayne passed away November 17 from a battle with cancer. Like many I knew afflicted with the disease, cancer was the contributing factor to his untimely death, it was a stroke that did him in.
Now I wasn’t incredibly close with him, especially over the last few years. Much my own fault as was his. The one common power that connected us together – my mom – passed away (also from cancer). I think it hurt both of us to see each other knowing that most conversations would be about her; something neither of us could handle.
He was a great man. And it was reflected in all the lives he touched over the years. From coworkers, to friends, to family everyone had a Wayne story to tell at his funeral yesterday. And I think I laughed more than I cried. Just goes to show what an impact he made on everyone.
Mine has to do with that math-y thing up above. The quadratic equation. Yes I was a smart kid. Too smart sometimes. Leave it to my equally smart uncle to teach me algebra when I was only 7. He’d grab his yellow legal pad and mechanical pencil and start scribbling out the letters and numbers. And EVERY TIME I would come to visit he would pull out the legal pad and have me work out the equation over and over.
So yeah, I knew how to derive the quadratic equation when I was 7. Too bad those lessons would be lost over the years (I’m looking at you College Algebra!).
There was more to him than just math lessons. He was the world’s most easy going guy. His catch phrase, “Well, that’s all right.” He was generous, sometimes too generous; he doled out $20 bills like candy. He was an amazing sketch artist. He loved Salvador Dali. He was a computer geek and taught me how to use one. He had gephyrophobia (fear of bridges) so he never came to my side of town. He was a psychiatric nurse and told the best stories (no names of course). Pajamas were his uniform. He was a terrible house keeper (I cleaned his house for a few months…it was GROSS). He had two cats named Boy Cat and Girl Cat. He used to make me sauteed mushrooms in lots of butter. He would get off his shift at 7 am and come over my house to have coffee with my mom. He slept with a sleeping mask and black curtains (he worked the night shift). He was the last person in America to use a garbage compactor. He had black plates and a lime green dining set and had me set placesettings for 4 despite the fact he never ate off the plates or at the table (also when I cleaned his house). He could quote any passage in the Bible. He loved sour cream and put it on almost everything. He sat crosslegged on the couch.
Hopefully I’ll see him again some day and I, he and mom can play Monopoly just like old times.