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Derb Is a Warlock!


Derb, Kathryn and I were just in her spacious, oak-paneled office looking through the advance copy of your book, and we’ve decided that it’s flat-out witchcraft. I refer you to the equations on pp. 104-05. Come on, admit it, those are incantations in an ancient tongue, which, if uttered backwards by the light of a candle burning in Whitaker Chambers’ pumpkin, have the power to turn Noam Chomsky into a Dittohead.

Actually, your grimoire inspired K-Lo and me to hold a ranking contest to see which one of us is dumber in math. It was a disedifying spectacle. As a matter of fact, I was pretty good in math when I went to high school here. Then I went off to this smarty-pants academy, a great school where, tragically, I found myself sitting in trigonometry class with supergenius kids who are probably now working on time travel devices in secret underground CIA labs. The effect of this on my fragile math ego was, to borrow a phrase, “shock and awe.” I curled up in a ball and quit going to class.

I flunked, but managed to graduate anyway, thanks to summer tutorials. But I was never the same again, and to this day, can be reduced to a quivering pot of goo by the very word “cosine.” I am literally not kidding when I tell you that at age 36, I am still haunted by dreams that my Permanent Record has been discovered to have been falsified, and I am now required to go back and re-do my math classes.


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