The cancer core

Most of my high school teachers hated my guts.

My mathematics teacher was profoundly clear about this. He systematically refused to answer my questions. I struggled understanding stuff without a context. He never provided any. I had no clue (at the time) what hypothesis testing meant. Where I’m from we didn’t talk hypotheses at the dinner table. How should I care if H1 differs from H0? What would I ever need this knowledge for? I often asked him to provide context. He never did, but instead nicknamed me ‘the cancer core’ – which I later found out is a word for someone who’s always bitching. At the time I was oblivious and just thought it sounded very inappropriate. I still think it does.

“People with your attitude will never make it,” he claimed.

An excellent teacher, eh?

I saw him at a Christmas buffet in 2019, two weeks after defending my PhD. He didn’t recognize me.

It brought back many emotions…

I wanted to say something. Anything.

I just stood there and stared sheepishly at him and imagined things that involved his face and several elements of the lined up Christmas buffet.

I decided to save Christmas and leave him be.

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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