Okay, here’s a life regret: No one has ever stopped me on the street, grabbed me by the collar, and demanded that I explain to them the essence of mathematics.
I’ve envisioned it many times, though.
What math teacher hasn’t?
Me: So, you want to get math?
Assailant: Obviously! Why else would one human being violently accost another, if not for the acquisition of knowledge?
Me: Easy, then! All you need to do is listen to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Assailant: [arches eyebrow] You can’t be serious. The Beatles album?
Me: [easing out of their grip, brushing my collar] Naturally! The whole album is trippy and spectacular, of course. But I’m talking about the final moments of the final track, a song that Rolling Stone has hailed as the Beatles’ greatest: “A Day in the Life.”
Assailant: [listening on an iPhone] This better be good, or I’m going to pound you into a fine math teacher carpaccio.
Me: Patience, assailant, patience! Wait until three minutes and fifty seconds in. That’s when a cacophonous noise begins. It’s the sound of a 40-piece orchestra playing absolute gibberish.