Friday, 10 February 2017

My Genius Teacher

For those reading who only know The Husband as a kick-ass business-person/artisan distiller, he was, in a former life, one of the best and most sought after workflow developers anywhere. He was doing geek when being geeky was as far removed from Big Bang Theory-cool as one could get and Mark Zuckerberg was still a wandering thought in his parent's minds. His off-the-charts, brilliant geekiness was always one of the things that most attracted me to him but for years when people asked me what he did for a living, I'd simply smile and say "He's in computers." I was ignorantly incapable of accurately describing it any other way.

This morning, in a fit of heightened frustration during what can only charitably be described as our most recent coding lesson, I asked The Husband to describe how his own thought process works when he is in development mode. As he again attempted to educate this intellectual potato on the inner workings of JavaScript and its interfacing capabilities with HTML, (I actually sound like I know what I'm talking about, don't I?) he explained to me that he tends to see things more unconventionally than do most programmers. 

Why am I not surprised? Geniuses in any field tend to work differently and in manners that can only be understood by themselves. If we all could comprehend the creative process utilized by the gifted, we'd all be able to compose symphonies like Beethoven, paint like Picasso, or understand mathematics like Einstein. 

The Husband told me that rather than sketch out his ideas with pen and paper first, he tends to view his computer screen the way that my potter friend sees a lump of clay. She might have the notion that she is making a bowl, but only until that bowl starts to take shape on her wheel does she really see the edges, details, and movement of the piece. His programs develop in much the same ways. He has the basic kernel of an idea and moves outward from there, using trial and error in his coding until he gets what he wants on his screen. But (there's always a but isn't there) there does exist a logical progression to his lines of code that can only be seen in his mind's eye.

This methodology could also explain why he is such a poor teacher. How is he supposed to explain something so radical and new to others when it is only obvious to him? The only logical way forward is to show them the tangible results, the finished product. Did Beethoven ever teach beginners the piano or did Pablo ever mix colours for an introductory painting course?

And....therein lies my basic problem with this entire exercise. I actually do understand the creative process and how trial and error factors into it, much like my self-editing of these pieces as I write them. My major issues come from the thinking logically part of it. It is what used to trip me up in math classes. I could memorize formulae like they were badass irregular verb conjugations, but I could never apply them to the word problems when they were presented to me. I couldn't figure out which numbers to plug into which sides of the equations. That genetic material that seems to be so necessary for seeing numbers and symbols and translating them into language, is not only dormant in me, it is non-existent. Just like those who might be colour-blind or tone-deaf, I have a disability. I am numerically challenged.

In a conversation yesterday with my mathematically-inclined mother she actually said this:

"You know, honey. Not everybody is able to do this. Maybe you just don't have it in you." 

Gee thanks, Mom. I guess that maternal nurturing button disappears from your repertoire after your offspring turns 50?

In some fairness to her, this is the same brilliant woman who persevered through dyslexia to become a nurse at a time when special education simply did not exist. There is no doubt in my mind that had she been at school during a different generation, she would have been an outstanding doctor. (She is going to kill me for writing that, but it is high-time she knows what all who love her know.)  This is also the same woman who spent the entire summer before I entered grade four drilling me on multiplication tables. She does speak from hard experience and prior knowledge of her subject. Let's just say she has scars.

No, Mom. I'm not yet ready to quit but I will admit that I am close. I do think that I have come to the conclusion that the only reason for these lessons is to accumulate blog material and maybe that's not such a terrible reason to continue. I keep hearing Nora Ephron's oft-repeated line of her mother's that "everything is copy" constantly riffing in my head. So, here's today's copy.

The Husband decided that it was necessary to teach me some basic JavaScript programming before we ventured any further into the morass that is my new web page. To that end, we worked today on creating loops. I'm still not certain of the entirety of why loops are necessary for a blog that is basically about nothing. Who the hell wants to read the same thing over and over? But there we were creating JavaScript loops. 

I was inundated with new jargon like statements and variables and learned that there are three different types of variables...numeric, string, and boolean.

A gold star to anybody outside the computer world who knows what boolean means. Honestly, when I first heard the word I thought we would be making soup. It actually means something that is either true or false. Who knew?

Following the lesson, The Husband went back to work and I attempted to re-create and modify some of the loops. I actually had some success doing it but it all seems so very futile. I have come to the conclusion that no matter how hard I work at this shit, and even if I do manage to someday move up the coding food chain from unqualified idiot to moronic dumbass, why bother? Beethoven's brother Kasper was a financier and Picasso's sisters didn't delve too deeply into art. They stuck to what they knew rather than treading upon the sanctity of brilliance. Maybe I should just let my resident genius do what he does best....and get him to design my new website. 

1 comment:

  1. Aha! There you go.Get Husband to design the Awesome Website. Why have the headache of coding, especially when it is more of a nightmare than a creative outlet? By the way, your story is quite entertaining and delightful!