Con Job

Feb, 2007

I read an article entitled "Math Made Easy: Study Reveals 5-year-olds' Innate Ability." It was about how kids do math all the time without realizing it and if you present math problems to kids in a creative manner, you can have them doing math naturally.

I didn't need a study to tell me this. My experience with Abia had confirmed it. When Abia was four, we played snakes and ladders, starting with one die. She would count the dots and move her piece accordingly. When she was able to move her piece without needing to count the dots, we moved on to two dice, and then three. Later we changed the rules  to allow a player to  remove any one of the three dice and count only the remaining two.  It progressed to where a player could choose to roll one, two, or three dice, thus needing to intuitively calculate probabilities. She never knew she was doing math.

We also made up many math games with playing cards. And I do mean 'we'; Abia would be involved in making up the games.

I started the same routine with our younger daughter, Gigi, but she was too smart for her own good; she sensed that I was trying to teach her something and wasn't “really playing” and she resisted.

She spotted my fraudulent intentions and called me on it. A friend suggested I forget Snakes and Ladders and immediately start Gigi on the cards - five card poker!

Gigi can smell a con even as I open my mouth, just like her mom.

But it was a con that first got me close to Wa.

My friend, Abie,  from South Africa had checked into the hotel where Wa worked a day ahead of me. Being Abie, he'd quickly managed to get the life stories of all three front desk girls. When I arrived, he filled me in on the details on each of them. The next morning he stood at the front desk and asked me to read his palm, feigning shock and surprise that I knew so much about him.

The others, including Wa, queued up to have their palms read, and since I got their past right, they believed everything I had to say about their futures. I became a celebrity at the hotel, especially with the chef, who was appreciative enough to always put a lot of extra goodies in my breakfast tray.

Anyway, for a lark, I told Wa she'd end up marrying a handsome young guy from Hongkong with a big nose who was a good palm reader. Just in case that wasn't clear enough, I added that his initials were GT.

An hour later I'd forgotten all about this and didn't really pay any attention to Wa (nor she to me) over the next two years that I stayed on and off at the hotel, apart from the usual niceties.

Then, once, as I checked out of the hotel, I noticed she had cut her hair, and for the first time, I really saw her clearly and thought to myself, "what a foxy lady!" This was a cool expression in those days, and I was nothing if not cool, even when talking to myself.

I said to Wa that I'd stay another day if she'd have dinner with me. She refused and I left. But I couldn't get her out of my mind and called her repeatedly till she agreed to have dinner with me. I flew over for a weekend and stayed ten days. We dated everyday and on the ninth day I asked her to marry me. I said we could get married first and fall in love later.

And that's what happened.

Some con job.

EEK! A Spouse!

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