I’ve often been the long point in the isosceles triangle. It’s not a very comfortable position. What I mean is more than once I’ve been “the other woman” which is not to say that I was some vampish female who entrapped and led men into committing adultery. Not at all and never, but I’ve often been the “other girl” usually without ever being told. One of my guy friends (just a friend) said of this to me once, “Well, you make a good ‘other woman’.” Whatever that meant. But then, to be fair, I’ve been one of the softer points in triangles of my own while some guy hung out at the rarified distances wondering if I was ever going to leave a husband.

Love can be messy.

One of the most wonderful books ever written (according to my dad who was a mathematician) is “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions.” by Edwin Abbott. It’s a kind of science fiction in which all the beings live in a two-dimensional world. My dad gave it to me soon after I learned to read (maybe?) in any case, it was very hard for me to get my child-mind around. He tried to explain it, but in every respect it was over my head. I do remember that in Flatland there are strict rules for movement because it’s very important (naturally) to avoid injury. If a Flatlander happens to run into (literally) the pointy end of an isosceles triangle, it can mean death. It’s a real danger, too, because from the front, that point just looks like a line. No way to know if you’re looking at the happy broadside of a rectilinear “person” or the point of an isosceles triangle.

I never read the whole book. I think even its theme was way beyond me at the time. I ultimately just took my dad’s word that it is a brilliant satire and geometry lesson and mind warping story about living in 2 dimensions. “We’re lucky we live in 3, MAK,” he said, “But we really live in more. We live in at least four dimensions.”


“Time, honey.”

Now, as it happens, a fifth has been discovered.

In other news, Teddy gets his stitches out today! I look forward to him flying freely through the yard and not crashing his cone into my legs. ❤ He’s been a patient patient, though.


11 thoughts on “Points…

  1. Did you see the Flat Matthew commercial from the Super Bowl? I enjoyed it. Yay for Teddy!! So no more cone, either? Patient patient….oh, Martha. 🙄

  2. My kids read Flatland in school and one of the math teachers directed it as a play. It is pretty interesting. My son (for a mostly-terrible on-line geometry class) had an assignment to photograph geometric shapes around the neighborhood. We found some pretty good scalene triangles in the rooflines of 1 ½ story bungalows.

  3. Did you have a bowl of “Deep Thought Wheaties” this morning? Or maybe I’m just drawn to the inscrutable and mysterious today. Everything I’m reading is making my brain work for it.

    But I like the idea of dangerous isosceles triangles. I’m currently trying to teach my son graphing–and the dangers there are myriad and inexplicable on a good day.

    Now listening to “Let the Sunshine In” and boy is it chipper and upbeat. Perfect for the depths of winter despair.

    • I remember that in Flatland the women are lines. If you meet one from the side, all is well, but head on, fatal. 🙂 Flatland is a treacherous place that make us grateful for the safety of three dimensions (ha ha) Good luck with the graphing.

  4. Perhaps I’m just math adverse (well geometry anyway) but if 2 lines meet end to end, doesn’t that just make a longer line? And if a line is met at the middle with another line doesn’t that create an angle? If that is the case how is it that it could be fatal? Meeting the point of a triangle with the point of another triangle would create a compound form – yes?? Okay. I’m done. This post has made me queasy. I’m going to go eat some chocolate and try to forget all about triangles….

    • The book is fiction and the geometrical shapes are the characters. If a line meets the edge of a square (in that world) it can fatally penetrate the square (bisect it). It’s a very weird book. You don’t see me wanting to read it again!

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