João 'Finding a new way to make you WTF today' Marum
We all have our own strange tales from our times at university. I certainly do have them, by the droves.
So, long ago when I was in my first year of my Mathematics degree something utterly weird happened. There I was in one of the many amphitheatres of our university waiting for my next class of Infinitesimal Analysis III. All was well, I was standing alone with my thoughts and there were groups of students in there as well, chatting amiably with each others. All was well.
Until a smartypants thought that taking out the fire-extinguisher that was on the wall was a good idea. And then he said, Why, wouldn't it be cool to fill up the room with chemical powder?
When I heard that I knew I was doomed because a) I knew he would do it b) there were people standing at the door preventing my quick exit and c) he was aiming the extinguisher muzzle at me!
And so, in a few seconds, the placid, candid amphitheatre turned into a scene from One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Everyone was running and I, calmly, with my black clothes now turned completely white, having a new hair colour (Yes, you guessed it... white) walked out the door, calmly closed the door and pretended nothing serious had happened. I was trying my best not to appear nonplussed.
And then the professor shows up immediately after that. One thing must be told about this professor, he was Polish and couldn't speak Portuguese. In fact, he barely could speak English, but still was able to teach the topics quite easily, since he was professor for the Pratical classes and not the Theoric classes. So he shows up and ignores the commotion everywhere. Then he proceeded to open the door and was greeted by a slow rolling cloud of white powder that gently enveloped him. Oh man, how I wish I had a camera back then, the photo would have been priceless.
So he turns around and in anger starts what I believe was swearing in Polish. Understandable, afterall he wasn't expecting to be greeted by a slowly enveloping chemical fog when he opened the door. The problem was he stared right at me because I was the only guy completely covered in powder.
"You! You do this, you enormous thief!" He said in English sounding like and having the grasp of the English language as an angry spammer on crack. Why I was a thief I'll never know for my life, I mean I didn't steal anything, I just wanted to take a bath and hope the chemicals wouldn't cause me permanent dermatological problems.
"I certainly did not!" I said in English. "All this powder over there and over me is in fact flour." And then I proceeded to do the only thing a sane man wouldn't do. I took a bit of powder and tasted it. "See? It's tasty. Yumyum. Erm, excuse me for a moment." And I fled to the nearest bathroom because that stuff tasted vile! Not to mention it was probably highly poisonous and cut 10 years out of my life.
In hindsight I really, really have no idea why I said it was flour. I mean, I could have said it was powdered sugar. Hell, I could even said it was cocaine and I would have come out looking better than I did. But in the end I said it was flour, as if eating flour was tasty. Still it would have been better than the alternative, eating fire-extinguisher chemical powder.
And so, for the rest of the day, I was wearing white. I attended classes dripping white powder and while I tried to remove it from me as much as I could, white would be the colour of the day. One of the professors, my Finite Mathematical Topics professor I believe, even remarked about my acute sense of fashion. I drew some attention to myself, but not much, as if a guy covered in white powder was something quite ordinary, that happened every day at the university. And it probably was. At least if there was a fire they could just pick me up and throw me into the fire and the fire would be instantly put out.
And that's the story of an average day at my university.
The moral of the story? Mathematics makes people do things no ordinary man with the least of common sense would do.