Print Story On being different in a small town
By stevew (Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 04:38:09 AM EST) (all tags)
Where I live, I never deliberately talk about some of the precocious things my boy does but on the other hand, it is a small country town, so I had presumed everybody actually knew.

Last week he got involved in a campaign to save the Maths department at Toowoomba Uni (USQ). It was his choice to give up his privacy to draw attention to the issue. He did an interview with the regional paper about having got an HD in a uni mathematics subject at nine which then led on to talk about him asking Dr Terrence Tao for help on the issue and closed with a hard hitting interview from Terry on the issue of the closure and the future of Mathematics education in Australia and globally. It was high profile, with part of the front page, a two page spread and the editorial related to his interview.

Yesterday, the boys in the local town, who he usually gets on with fairly well, refused to talk to him. They ganged up in a group on the main street and called out taunts. Weirder still, several adults refused to acknowledge me when I greeted them on the street. As well as that, just about all the young girls we passed, from nine to nineteen, went out of their way to say hello to him. The conclusion I was given after some brooding silence on the way home was: "Don't worry Dad, they are just dumb animals and we have disturbed the pecking order, they will get over it when they realise we don't want to fertilise their females".

It must be strange to be famous. Fifteen minutes, locally, is enough for us. Today, after work, we were shopping in Toowoomba, the nearest city. Everywhere we went there were flickers of recognition at Adam and half smiles on peoples faces but never a word said. Never enough to be absolutely certain about any one contact but, in total effect, extremely disturbing. We escaped to the car and collapsed in hysterical laughter. Adam's conjecture was that we are now living in a twilight zone episode!

And feeling slightly ashamed for giving it a plug here when I hardly ever contribute, you could sign Terry Tao's petition to save Mathematics at USQ here:

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On being different in a small town | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Toowomba? by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #1 Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 05:35:41 AM EST
Is that near Gunnardar (not sure of the spelling of that one).

Gunnedah by stevew (2.00 / 0) #2 Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 06:01:11 AM EST
Near? about 550km,+Australia

Gunnedah really is miles from anywhere (some good pubs though). How the hell did you know that name?

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Aussie wife unit by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #5 Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 01:27:13 PM EST
And her cousin is from Gunnie.

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Isn't 550km near in Oz? [n/t] by Herring (2.00 / 0) #6 Sat Apr 12, 2008 at 11:07:48 AM EST

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

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I recall tales of Gunnedah by gazbo (2.00 / 0) #3 Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 07:01:06 AM EST
Virtually naked, huddled in a duvet on a roof in winter, and certainly not sound of body or indeed mind.

Grear days.

I recommend always assuming 7th normal form where items in a text column are not allowed to rhyme.

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I'm not a fan of small towns by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #4 Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 10:35:16 AM EST
I went to primary school in one, and never felt I fit in, as most people had been living there for generations, with their aunts, uncles and cousins.

On being different in a small town | 6 comments (6 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback