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  • Writer's pictureMichael Sales

Don' Know Much About Algebra, Don' Know What a Slide Rule is For

I was never great at geometry, which has acted as a limitation on my ability to feel Bucky Fuller's "energetic" version of the topic, but I was certainly the kind of romantic Sam Cooke refers to in his classic, and I've been told I have a sense of humor. Two good friends of mine asked me "why would a Jew like you, with a highly honed comedic sensibility not love Seinfeld?!" To which I responded, "You should consider what you just said the next time you watch that show." I do love The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and pretty much anything by the Marx Brothers.

My beloved brother, Stephen, olav ha-sholom, was a super-Mensa type. Even though he was an advanced kind of guy and five years older, I took him to see Night at the Opera when I was 19 and discovered that he'd never seen a Marx Brothers movie. It was one of three occasions I can recall where he developed a bit of an appreciation for my taste.

He led a swing orchestra in high school, The Silver Knights, and adored Glenn Miller. He was dumbfounded by the advent of rock 'n' roll in the mid-50s and wanted to know what its attraction was for me. I broke down Bye-Bye Love for him and, even though he didn't get it or like it, I think he saw that there was something there for people to get and to like.

The third occasion was when he was finishing grad school and I was near the end of college, and we visited our parents over a break. We had both recently seen Blow Up, and I was discussing it with our mother at breakfast. She exclaimed, "But, Michael, there is pubic hair in that movie!" I responded, "There's pubic hair everywhere, Mom." Steve loved that. I look at it as early evidence of my being tuned into the Anthropocene.

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