So my wife calls at about 1 yesterday afternoon and says “Did you know your books were arriving today?” and I’m like, “Wha? Um…no. Are they there?” and she says “Yeah, the guy just called and he’s around the block and…” and I hung up on her and drove like a crazy person over to her office, and just as I almost get there I see this red SUV that had obviously side-swiped a parked car and gotten stuck start backing up and speed away, so my brain is like “books… duty… books… duty” and I finally succumb and keep driv…er…pull over, run into the public library outside of where it happened, find the guy with the gray Grand Prix, give him the woman’s license plate and my phone number, jump back in my car and get to the office to see my poor wife carrying the last of eleven 38 lb. boxes up the stairs, run inside, run my car key down the center tape of one of the cartons, rip out the stuffing paper and, lo and behold, good god almighty, can you believe it…IT’S A BOOK!

MY book. Pretty cool.

Of course, that’s the end of anything productive that happens for the rest of the day despite a meeting with Tablet PC cohort teachers that I have to come back for and a most unsettling hour coaching a 3rd grade girls basketball team later that night. (Use your imagination…the 3rd grade boys team was in the other half of the gym.) The rest of the time is spent reading, staring, reading some more, looking for errors (found one typo so far) and just trying to believe that I really wrote that thing. And thinking, “hey, this came out pretty darn good!” Cigars all around.

But in a “let’s keep this all in perspective” moment, earlier in the day a teacher walked into my office with an olive green Algebra book that I instantly recognized to be the same edition that I had suffered through back in 1970-something when I was a sophomore here at Happy High School. Even better, however, was when she opened up the front cover, held out the little “sign your name” grid that was there and said, “Is that YOU?” Sure enough, I look down, and the second name in the list that’s now like thirty names long says “Willie Richardson” in this weird, somewhat familiar cursive that is most certainly my signature.

Now I know that Algebra hasn’t changed much over the years, but let’s get serious. Thirty some years later, isn’t there a better way to frame or contextualize the material than “If gas costs 57 cents a gallon and a car gets 17 miles per gallon, how many miles…”

Time to start working on the second edition…