People are more complex than any machine. Emma, a freshman, is finding them more hard to master than any other equation. Emma is different and she knows it. Through wit and genius, Emma brings the reader into her world and changes the lives of so many people around her. This is a story about relationships and people and living life to its fullest.


Let me start this off by saying I don't understand people. If you ask me what the square root of 342578 is, I can tell you down to the hundredth decimal point in a heartbeat. I can give you directions to where ever you please If you ask me how many bones there are in the human body, I can say with precision and name them all. But if you ask me to go hold a nonchalant conversation with someone or invite them to go ice skating; I'll look at you as if you'd just asked me to fly to the moon because I'll sooner learn how to breathe underwater before I can bring someone home for Christmas dinner.
    I know just about everything, I can recite all the state mottos in latin or tell you exactly how long you've lived in milliseconds; I'm like a walking encyclopedia with every fact ever known crammed inside my head. I understand everything; there's not a problem in the universe that can fool me. That is, except people. People to me are like string theory or ancient Greek to anyone else. No matter how hard I focus, I can't break people down into the simplest equation, there's just too many variables, too many unknowns. The human mind is never ending maze with false paths and treacherous traps and no rational way to find my out. When I'm trying to talk to someone I'm stuck where common sense can't reach me--where no matter how hard I try to chose the right path, to find the right thing to say I keep stepping in traps. I am lost, like young child trying to solve a ten-thousand piece jigsaw puzzle, nothing makes sense.


I swear, my roommate's an alien. She can sprout facts like Wikipedia. She's so weird, she does her math homework for class and then she goes and does it again in binary '"simply for the fun of it." I mean really, who does all their math homework in first place, let alone a second time and ENJOYS IT?! She spends hours watching jeopardy on her computer and before the announcer-guy even finishes asking the question, she's answered it,and she's right EVERYTIME.

She lined her entire wall space with chalk boards, and spends HOURS writing all sorts of crazy equations and weird Asian languages but the second I bring someone cool around to talk to, she's out of the room faster than I fall asleep in philosophy class.

I've tried to be nice to her but whenever I start a conversation with she bores me to death with facts about the African fruit fly or how "interesting" the origin of the word crytoscopophilia is. I mean, what is crytoscopophilia? Who even knows that sort of thing?


A stalactite grows at about .0015 inches per year. Growing at that rate, it would take 8 thousand years for a stalactite to grow just one foot. I still haven't stopped growing. I'm eighteen years old, five foot eleven and still sprouting like an invasive vine. On average, I grow 3.94 inches per year; if I grew like a stalactite for 8 thousand years, I'd be over 31520 feet tall, that's 378,240 inches.

    I've been through three different pairs of sneakers this year because I keep outgrowing them. Did you know, the first sneaker was produced in 1892 when the US Rubber Company made the first comfortable canvas shoe-- the original Keds?
  This monstrous height only adds to my awkwardness; I tower over all the other kids, including most of the boys. The average height for a white male in the United States is five-ten. One of the shortest average heights in for men in the world is in rural India where a full grown male is usually only about five-foot-three. Scandinavian people are some of the tallest in the world, their men average about six feet. You may now be asking yourself how I know this, or why anyone should care about what the world's average height is--That's something you should know about me right from the beginning, I spout random facts. Personally, I find them interesting. I have everything floating around my head like Great Pacific Garbage Patch; all sorts of flotsam and jetsam swirling around, waiting for the slightest breeze to bring an artifact to the surface.

Dr. Harold Flinch

  Teaching is a taxing and thankless job. Many teachers preach about how rewarding it is to see their students succeed in life, but I think that just a load of hogwash that only comes in handy for job interviews. No, in truth, teaching is a grueling task of long hours working with disobedient, good-for-nothing, rich kids.
  They slack off on homework, cheat on tests and go out of their way to ask the most ridiculous questions in class simply to harass their teachers. I've had enough. I've worked at Rustly College for 34 years and in just one more year I'll get my hard-earned pension. Then it's off to Washington to the San Juan Islands to retire to a waterside home with beautiful weather and a 30-foot sailboat.


  Biology is a drag. It's like spending hours listening to my Grandma telling me about her childhood. NO ONE CARES. When am I ever going to use all that complicated information about amino acids and nuclei-somethings?! To make everything so much worse, my teacher, Dr Flinch is the driest and ugliest person I have ever seen.
  His voice sounds like a vacuum cleaner with a head cold and his stomach hangs out like a big balloon. His face is like a boiled potato with saggy brown skin and big tufts of hair that stick out from everywhere--noise, ears, eyebrows, you name it-- he pouchy eyes are always bloodshot and his cheeks are always bright red as if he's really, really, angry.

Dr. Flinch

          Oh no, not again. Its 10 o'clock already and I need to go teach another section of insolent freshman biology. Why can't I just not show up? I mean, then everyone would be happy. No homework or long boring lectures for them and I won't need to deal with snot-nosed brats.

          It will be all I-don't-understand-this-s and why-do-we-have-to-learn-that-s.  Kids with headphones in their ears or games on their laptops, why do I even bother? 157 days left of this hell, oh dear.


I won't touch jellybeans, or chicken nuggets or anything else that comes in a aluminum foil package. That's one of the downsides of knowing everything, there's stuff you're really better off not knowing. For instance, jellybeans are coated in shellac, removed from the Kierra Iaca bug that's found in Thailand. I was sitting at table, surely no surprise to you that I was alone, eating a salad of only things I that I could surely identify as authentic. I had the unfortunate luck that from where I was sitting, I had the perfect view of the checkered cardboard boxes full of 'chicken' nuggets and 'hamburgers.'

          As I was contemplating the FDA's laws of what is and is not permissible in processed food, this guy walked up to me. "Is someone sitting here," he asked. I shook myself from my own thoughts, wholly confused that someone was talking to me. Still struggling hopelessly for words, I gestured awkwardly toward the chair. He slumped into the seat, scuffing the metal legs against the floor and banging his red plastic tray onto the table.

        Still bewildered, I decided the best course action was to withdraw into my previous thoughts, better to not say anything than to say something that will make this guy dodge me like two polar ends of magnet for the next four years.


        Before we go any further, it was a dare. Sam Cushing bet me twenty bucks that I couldn't hold a conversation with this strange girl for more than fifteen minutes. I'd never actually talked to her before but she looked all right and hey, always good to make an easy twenty bucks.

          She had sort of this odd way about her. This look in her eyes like her mind was always somewhere else. When I asked if I could sit her, for her reaction, you would have thought that I had asked her to sub as a linebacker in the semi finals.

        "I'm Xander." I flashed her a charming smile; that always get girls to goggle over me. She was still looking at something far off in the distance, without even looking at me she replied, "Yes, I know." Okay then. "What's your name?" "Emma," she finally looked straight at me. "Did you know that the most valuable team in NFL is the Dallas Cowboys, they're worth over 1.5 million." She looked away again. Um, okay... "That's interesting, where did you learn that?" I think I may owe Sam Cushing fifteen bucks.
        She looked back,  worried, "Sorry, I must be terribly dull to you. My life's just a endless flood of too much information." Uncomfortable pause. "Why are you talking to me anyway?" Gee, what am I supposed to say to that? I've been bet that I can't stand to sit with you for more than fifteen minutes. "I think you're facts are interesting." She raised her eyebrows and smirked "See how you just looked down and to the right? That means that you're lying." Yikes, what now?


Everybody lies. Whether its just a tiny polite one like "you look nice today" or "no, that dress doesn't make you look fat" to the really whopping ones like hiding your taxes, walking out before paying the check or cheating on your wife while still claiming to love her; everyone does it.
  The average person lies 3-4 times in a ten minute conversation; that puts Xander at about two already. Besides, no one ever sits down with me simply for the fun of it. In fact, people usually move to another table for the fun of it.
  Back to Xander. You can tell a whole lot about a person from their body language. For instance, looking up to the right while answering a question means that person is remembering something that happened but looking down to the left is creating a memory or, inventing a lie. Feet are also a great indicator; people often unconsciously point their feet in the direction that they want to go.
  I followed Xander's feet; drawing a direct line to a table full of varsity jacket-toting jocks all goggling at us. Well, that explains everything.
  I turn to Xander; "Tell you what," he looks up from the his pink-slime hamburger "I'll be somewhat bearable for the next fifteen minutes if you split your winnings with me."  The look on his face was priceless, he was like a little kid who had just been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
  Laughter is contagious. Humans mirror the emotions of others, yawning and smiling, coughing and crossing their legs when they see others doing so. This is a primal action that helps us to interact with everyone around us.
  My laughs are a combination between a cat that's been stepped on and those annoying little bells on shop doors to let the owner know a customer's entered. It's a bizarre, awkward laugh to match my personality. It's such a strange chortle that everyone around me laughs along.
  Soon Xander and I were cackling together; grasping our stomachs and desperately gasping for air.
    The 1985 Chicago Bears are the hit highest scoring teams in football history, scoring 456 points in one regular season. One touchdown for Emma, finally made friends with someone, even though this star football jock was one of the least expected people to have do so. The average adult laughs 15 times per day, personally I average about 0--cheers for a new  record.


I can't believe it. Somehow, my wacko roommate got herself a personal one-on-one conversation with XANDER LEXINGTON. And to make matters even worse, she's got him laughing along to her distorted caw.

This cannot be happening. I've been trying to sit down with Xander for weeks now-- he's all the girls on the cheer squad ever talk about. He's SO gorgeous; golden blond hair, sky blue eyes, a beautiful smile and an absolutely knockout body.

I simply cannot understand why he's interested in HER. I spend over an hour doing my hair each morning and she doesn't even shave her legs. This is so unfair. Something must be done about this.

Dr. Flinch

The cafeteria is full of noisy barbaric children. On top of the clamor and vociferation the food tastes like cardboard. I've  worked  here for 35 years and still cannot find reasonable time to buy my lunch. There's always an endless line of yelled, pushing children, bumping into me and jostling me around.

Today was no exception. As I was rushing (out, of course) towards the door with my tray. This cotton headed freshman bowled into me, smushing my tray into my chest. m

Other ideas

The Greek myth of tantalus and the origin of tantalizing. How something is almost happening.

Did I tell you about the time I tried to take the driving test? I was so nervous I started spouting out the Massachusetts driving manual as fast as I could; my  inspector thought I was on something and failed me before I even had a chance to turn my blinker on. Took me another try to get past the parallel parking and yet another after that before I got my license. "Wow, looks like I've finally found something you're not good at." Oh don't worry, there's quite a number of things I can't do. "Oh yeah, what's that"

I wouldn't be surprised if hell was a college dorm room full of partying twenty years, in fact, I'm pretty sure that's the definition. Today was no exception. As I was rushing (out, of course) towards the door with my tray. This cotton headed freshman bowled into me, smushing my tray into my chest. Cottage cheese, pineapple slices and caesar dressing spilled onto me, slopping down the front of my sweater and brand new tie.

Before I even had a chance to bellow, she started talking. My rage turned to surprise, fizzling out as I realized the strange yet wonderful things she was babbling about. "Cottage cheese-- 15 percent carbohydrates, 12 percent fat, 73 percent protein" I gaped at her "Quiet a healthy choice actually, the average male consumes 2,680 calories per day while the average 60 year old 5"10 sedentary man burns only 1940 calories in one day." She shifted onto her left foot, bending her left sole to scratch her calf, unbalancing herself in the process. She laughed as her foot slid in the cottage cheese mess and she hopped oddly to keep upright.

"Oh," she said once she regained her balanced. She stared at my shirtfront, as if she'd only just realized what she had done, pulling at her sleeves in embarrassment. "Umm, fresh proteins can be removed by soaking and agitating the clothing in cold water. Then you can presoak the clothing in color safe bleach for thirty minutes and launder in warm-- not hot water."

I wanted to be mad and angry about her ruining my sweater but she was so strangely charming that I couldn't help but laugh. As I guffawed, she stared at me confused for a minute but then smiled. "So you're not angry?" She asked, a slight hint of hopefulness in her voice. Coughing for a breath I grinned and shook my head. She breathed a sigh of relief. "In that case, I have to go now, jeopardy starts in soon and it takes 157 steps to get to my dorm room, leaving me only 2 minutes to spare." She turned quickly, slipping slightly on the cottage cheese mess again. And then sauntered off with a strange loping step muttering something that sounded strangely like the periodic table.

A fellow teacher walked up to me. That was nice Harvey, I haven't heard you laugh in years, I take it you like her then? "Yeah," I said slowly, "I guess I do."


Although they have wings, chickens can’t fly. They’ve been overfed so much that their bodies are too heavy for their wings to lift them off the ground. As a result, they have evolved with feet more adjusted to nesting on the ground and beaks and necks for pecking food from the dirt below them. Sometimes, I feel like a modern day chicken that’s been placed back among its flying, tree-nesting ancestors, the wild red jungle fowl. My brain’s so full of ideas and other things that it weighing me down to the ground; I’m chained to solid earth and I that. I hopelessly watch all the other fowl fly freely among the trees, laughing and playing and interacting with each other—dreaming that one day I’ll be able to fly again.

The End

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