When I was twelve years-old, my family lived near the Trask Compound. Mr. Trask was a tall, gruff, inarticulate man with little education, no wife and an older family of three boys and a girl. After a day’s work drilling wells, he’d come home to meet three other men to work eagerly on their passion – building stock cars.
Most nights eleven males were present. Unchecked by feminine influence, male behaviour often sinks to guttural speech and interaction. As the youngest of Mr. Trask’s many gofers, I stood by, learning that which I would never learn in school.
Oratory was not Mr. Trask’s strong point. Once, I overheard him reprimand my brother by saying, “Ain’t you never seed no blowed head gasket?” Since I was an academic marvel, just nailing down the finer points of English Grammar, I inwardly bridled at his use of the triple negative.
One day, Mr. Trask asked me to take a tape measure and measure around two tires. Trying to prove the worth of my keen mind, I asked him, “Why not just measure across and multiply by 3 1/7?” He looked at me sharply and replied, “You mean 3.1416 don’t you?” Sheepishly, I acknowledged his greater accuracy. Then he said, “Measure around the tire and get it right!”
I got it right.