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One in a Meme-ion - Blather. Rants. Repeat.
A Møøse once bit my sister ...
One in a Meme-ion
Like and share. Like and share. Like and share.

They're the particles which hold the internet together- ranging from sound to fury, usually signifying nothing.

They can be political, inspirational, occupational.

In my lifetime, they've gone from magazine clippings and mimeographs passed by hand, to primordial photocopies, to thermal-paper faxes, to chain emails, to, now, these constant social media shares.  Most are irrelevant to me; many are too smarmy or snarky; some are downright offensive, either in what they say or how they tug at your heartstrings to share them (only 3 percent will, or you'll make Jesus sad if you don't).

But then there was late last night, and this one:

I didn't know who Sidney Hook was (I do now; he was a former Marxist converted to rabid anti-Communism from the 1950s on), but I liked the sentiment, and there was only one logical former teacher to share it with:

Pistol Pete.

That's not his real name, but we all called him that (a homage to a then-famous NBA player), or "Mr. P," and he taught physics at our high school and as an adjunct at a nearby college. He was also advisor to Probe, our school's science magazine, which helped keep the Star Trek brand alive in between TOS and STTMP and even had one of its stories adapted into an Animated Series episode on NBC.

He didn't wow us with the quantity of what he taught us; it was the quality of the learning; hands-on, with humor and respect, both in his fast-track honors and AP classes but also in the Regents-level one I was in during my junior year.  It was Mr. P who invited a whole bunch of us to dinner at his Queens-borough home one year; and it was for him that I got Carl Sagan to autograph a copy of Dragons of Eden in my first year at Cornell.  He didn't even notice the first time through; he was too busy reading the book.

So. I posted that meme on his Facebook page- he's the only teacher from any level who I've reconnected with there- with the following sentiment:

Anyone could've taught the formulas and the principias. It's the rare one who you remember so fondly almost 40 years later despite remembering none of them.

A simple sentiment, which got an appropriately simple thank you from him.  But then the meme went viral, as they do.


Another student from those years was Dave.  I remember him from 40 years ago the way I remember a lot of people from 40 years ago- regretting that those particular memory cells in my brain hadn't been written over.  I did  know he's lived a full and interesting life since we left East Meadow's halls, but I did not know the influence Mr. P had made on him and his future (some identifying details are obscured in the next two quotes):

I fondly remember my physics & astronomy teacher. I remember learning about black holes and event horizons from him. I was a lagging high school student, but my teacher taught me as he taught all the others. It made a difference. Despite a class rank of 6** of 6**(or something like that), and having to attend summer school AFTER our graduation ceremony in order to actually graduate EMHS, I came away with enough hope to excel in college and graduate the Medical College of Virginia (MD, 1987), and Quinnipiac University School of Law (JD, 2005). I completed my anesthesiology residency across the street from our high school at NCMC (board certified 1992). Thanks, Mr. P. If you ever come across Tony S., please thank him for me, as well. My favorite amateur science? Astrophysics, of course!

My random meme-ing couldn't hold a candle to THAT (and if I'd tried, one of the Sheehan twins would have burned down the lab with it)  So our mentor's response to Dave was suitably heartfelt:

Wow!! Thank you Dave. I had no idea about your wonderful success story. I truly hope I helped you discover that internal spark which obviously ignited in a glorious fashion.Mega kudos to you.. I sometimes fantasize that the spirit of Christmas past would beckon me to hold his sleeve while he whisked me back to good 'ol EMHS so I could observe some of those wonderful classes with my amazing students. Re: Mr.S: He was a good friend and colleague while teaching Chemistry at EMHS. We kind of lost contact after he left our school to become a Chairman at another school in Suffolk. You have motivated me to try to contact him and if I can I will send your thanks and greetings.

Wow, back. Because I liked and shared one relatively pedestrian thing, a good man learned of the respect of not one but two former students, and may even wind up reconnecting with a former friend.

Can I get an "Amen" for that? (Not from me, or likely from Dave- or just pass on the good karma from the moment.)
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greenquotebook From: greenquotebook Date: August 23rd, 2016 05:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
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