So, I think the hardest thing I learned in mathematics was perseverance and patience, and this is the nature of mathematics. Math is very binary. It’s usually nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing… and then everything, you’ve got it. It’s also very humbling because, once you’ve got it, you realize it looks so obvious. So, you’ve got some humiliating experience like, ‘Oh, why didn’t I get that in the first place?’ But that’s what I learned, that’s the nature of mathematics.
That boy makes me smile.
- i don't even care. i'm not going to talk about this anymore.
- and you know what else? [2000 word rant]
To someone living in a Symco, Wis., a small town with a population of under 800, the Boondocks Bar and Grill might feel like home. It is one of the three bars in the town, located smack-dab in the middle of the other two at the intersection of Symco Road and Wis. Highway 22. Though there are two others bars to choose from, the Boondocks’ parking lot is the fullest.
The Tuesday night crowd took their seats on the cushioned stools at the wood finished, L-shaped bar, consuming their regular beers or other beverages of choice. Old farmers wore their trucker hats and flannels. Graying tradesmen, still sporting their gritty oil-stained clothing from the day’s work, never bothered changing before sitting down and talking to their friends about life’s new developments.
Tuesday marks dollar burger day. Anything more than a slice of cheese runs the consumer more money, but no one really seemed to mind the additional charges. It’s not necessarily the burgers these guys come in for.
As the men talked, the bartender took command of the room. Every glass full, every bottle still cold with condensation. Dinner baskets were carried two at time. Even while rushing back and forth from the kitchen to the bar, her prom queen good looks were apparent. She wasn’t begging for attention with her strapless shirt or long brown hair, but it was hard not to notice her in a room of blue-collar workers. She had the spunk and energy of any 20-something year old and never slowed her momentum to deliver her customers what they wanted.
While the bar had a Touch Tunes music system, no one lined up to pick any songs to play. The only sound was the banter between patrons in the bar. As drinks were finished, beer bottles were thrown into a recycling area. The clanking of bottles startled customers and caused them to look over, but they continued on with their conversations as soon as they realized the sound was of no worry to them.
Between burgers and beers, patrons took advantage of the free baskets of peanuts. Thousands of shells sat on the ground near the bar stools as they must have collected over the day. A rugged man of about 35 stood up off his bar stool towards the bathroom at least five times, carrying with him the sound of crunching peanut shells beneath his work boots.
While the farmers and tradesmen talked about work, their wives and children stared hypnotically at the one television screen behind the bar. The Brewers played Cincinnati, and at the top of the sixth, were down 0-2. Once tired of the baseball game, the kids stared at the walls and the frames that lined them. Signs promoting beers such as Coors, Old Style, and Budweiser Select popped against the wooden walls.
For the Boondocks, this was a busy night. The front door of the bar kept swaying open and closed. As soon as a group left, another of the same number made its debut. As 8 p.m. rolled around, the parents and their children left allowing for a noisier bunch to take their place. Conversation switched from catch-ups to news flashes. A woman proudly talked up her new pickup truck, a 2003 Chevy with 150, 000 miles on it.
Small town bars have a knack for attracting the same people over and over. A woman, a regular of the bar, in a white and gray Cabela’s pullover wrote up orders for other patrons and took their dishes over to the kitchen when they were done. The bartender never asked for her help but seemed thankful. A weight was taken off her shoulders and bartender could carry on serving the other 20-some people as their plates cleared and glasses got empty.