Paul Sassone: Technology can’t kill compass and protractor

Only TV self-help charlatans love change. Everyone else wants things to stay as they are, because most change is for the worse.

We crave stability and continuity, even in small things.

For instance, just to see how much some things have changed and how much have stayed the same, I took a look at Mann School’s list of supplies a fourth-grader has to have this year.

And there they were, still so many of the supplies I had to have back in the days I went to school when dinosaurs ruled the earth: scissors, ruler, pencil case, pencils, erasers notebook, glue stick, folders…

… and a compass and protractor.

Ah, the warmth of continuity.

Never in my adult life have I needed a compass and protractor. But students, then and now, do.

In case you’ve forgotten, a protractor is used to measure the angles of various geometric shapes. Compasses are for drawing circles.

That’s their official use. But I remember that Harry had ideas of his own about these mathematical instruments.

Harry was hulking, dumb and violent. Figuring out the size of circles was beyond him. So he used his compass for what he liked to do best, hurt other kids. He would jab the compass point into another kid’s arm or thigh. Not enough to draw blood or get himself arrested, just enough to be amused by making make a kid jump.

Since a compass doesn’t have a point, Harry couldn’t think of anything to do with it. But Gene was smarter and more creative. After much trial and error, he discovered how to draw a boy’s version of certain female body parts.

Me? I just used my compass and protractor normally — to depict war.

Protractors are real good at making bullet lines from one plane to another. Compasses are invaluable in drawing airplane engines. And both help create neat, symmetrical explosions.

So, if you ever need anything like that drawn, I’m your man.

Though you’d have to supply the compass and protractor.

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