Hilarious article over at McSweeney’s by Daniel Casey, imagining how HP Lovecraft would be as a substitute teacher or mathematics.
As for me, my name is Mr. Lovecraft and, while this is not my area of expertise, I will endeavor to guide your fragile, young minds along the perilous precipice of public school mathematics curricula.
Second, let me also inform you that your usual substitute arithmetic teacher, Mr. McAuliffe will not be with us either. Two days ago, the police, who broke down Mr. McAuliffe’s door after complaints from the neighbors of bloodcurdling screams during the night, found a notebook on his kitchen table that seemed to indicate that he had worked out pi to the last place. McAuliffe was nowhere to be found, but the distinct odor of sulfur and the neatly piled stacks of clean, dried animal bones in the corner gave them pause. That, and they found two cats in the microwave, only one of which was partially devoured.
I am not a “dweeb,” I am your substitute teacher. Stop whispering unholy incantations under your breath; I’m not deaf and I don’t appreciate ensorcellment in my classroom.
This is Cartesian devilry of a black and necromantic sort, dreamed up by the twisted designs of sinister scholastic gods, existing purely to tempt and destroy mankind with its elusive secrets. Topics to be covered include: non-Euclidean geometry, dividing by zero, Cthulu’s Principle of Inverse Sanity, approaching and surpassing asymptotes, Fermat’s Next-to-Last Theorem, gazing into the depths of a parabola, and the dreaded unit circle.
For those of you thinking of coordinating an attempt to disrupt the course of this class by dropping your books on the floor at precisely 10:03 AM, then let me remind you that the last time a group of mostly virginal youths such as yourself attempted such a thing, one student got a paper cut and the books formed a pentagram where they fell. The spilled blood released Shub-Niggurath, The Black Goat of The Woods with a Thousand Young, from her eternal slumber. Needless to say, the bloodshed and maddening terror that followed resulted in an early release, but all those students who had participated and not been slain were given Saturday detention.
Yes, you there with the pigtails and the underbite? Whether or not we can adopt Mr. McAuliffe’s undevoured cat as a class pet is unknown to me. I’ll ask the principal, but after I handed in my I-9 forms, written in blood per his request, he disappeared in a bilious yellow cloud of smoke. In short, I don’t know.
The time for questions has passed. Now, we begin our strange voyage into the Pythagorean by watching Darren Aronofsky’s Pi, a film which both touches upon mathematics and the myriad horrors of the human condition. It’s not as good as Black Swan, but I would be derelict in my duty as a teacher if I showed a fun, upbeat film like that to a group of impressionable youths.