Musings Without Parallel


When I saw today’s prompt, I heard a Voice.

Not just any voice … but the Voice of my primary school math teacher intoning #32 of his Math-isms: Parallel Lines Never Meet.

Which got me thinking about all the “parallels” that have crossed my path: there’s the mighty 38th Parallel, parallel sequences in music, parallel plots, parallel imports, parallel bars, parallel circuits … There are parallel universes, parallels in history – though there are, of course, events and circumstances that remain unparalleled.

Which then triggered the memory of Tom, the boy at the back of the class, who had raised a fascinating question: “If parallel lines never meet, how come we got squares on waffles?” My unparalleled memory (in the worst way) prevents me from recalling the teacher’s response, but I do believe Tom received detention.

Which leads me to the one thing I have never liked about parallels – the parallelogram. I’ve never understood it. If it’s nice and straight and right angled, call it a square or a rectangle or an oblong. If it’s all slanty, with weird angles that students are eternally condemned to calculate the external angles of, call it a rhombus or a diamond or a kite or something other than a parallelogram. I even had to check its spelling and pronounciation before plonking it in this post. If you have a spare moment, try saying ‘parallelogram’ three times fast.

I have no idea what the point of this post is, beyond establishing that parallel lines can intersect other parallel lines and then we get the points. And angles. And waffles.





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