I was walking down the hall to my office when I heard someone call my name. I turned and saw a young couple coming quickly toward me. As they came closer, I recognized them. They had been my students a couple of years earlier. They had worked in the same group, and I thought they kind of liked each other. As they hurried toward me, hand in hand, it was quite obvious I was right.
When they reached me, Pamela blurted out, “Professor Howard, do you remember us?”
I nodded. “I sure do.” I looked and saw a ring on her finger. “Did you two . . .?”
She didn’t even let me finish, but held her ring hand up. “Yes, we got married. Almost a year ago.”
“That is really exciting,” I replied.
“We first met in your Math For The Real World class,” Tom said. “We became study partners.”
“And we did quite well,” Pamela added, “except for logic. The logic section blew both of us away.”
“Yeah,” Tom said. “Logic just didn’t work for us. We studied hard on it and neither of us could get it. But we did well on everything else, and we finished with okay grades.”
“Logic can be difficult for some people,” I said.
Tom shrugged. “I don’t see why it’s part of the class. Logic just isn’t important in real life.”
“Well, anyway,” Pamela interjected, “we were on our way to see you just now. We wanted to let you know that we had married.”
“In addition,” Tom said, “we wanted to tell you that we are expecting our first baby.”
“That is exciting,” I replied. “Congratulations!”
Pamela smiled. “The ultrasound shows that the baby is going to be a boy. Tom and I have talked about it, and we think we ought to do something to remember that we first met in a math class. We think our baby’s middle name ought to be something mathematical.”
“We considered Pythagorus,” Tom said, “but Pam thinks that is too old fashioned.”
“Tom was thinking of using a math term,” Pamela said. “Maybe something derived from a word like addition or multiplication or something.”
“Do you have any good ideas?” Tom asked.
I shook my head. “I’m afraid I’m not very good with things like that. If you used something I came up with, I’m sure your son would end up hating me for the rest of his life.”
“If you think of something, I hope you’ll let us know,” Pamela said. “This baby was kind of a surprise, so we don’t have as much time to consider a name as we would have liked.”
“The baby was a surprise?” I asked.
Tom nodded. “Yeah. When we got married, Pam’s doctor talked to her all about contraceptives and helped her decide on the best kind. But obviously it didn’t work.”
“And we know it wasn’t our fault,” Pamela said, “because Tom was careful to take the birth control pills exactly as the doctor prescribed them for me.”
“Tom took them?” I questioned in surprise.
Pamela nodded. “Yeah. I took the pills for a little while, but they made me sick. So Tom was kind enough to take them instead.” She then turned to him and smiled. “The medicine made him queasy, too, but he is such a great guy that he was kind enough to keep taking them anyway.” Tom looked embarrassed at her compliment, and I tried hard not to smile.
As they turned to leave, Pamela said, “Thanks for such a great math class. But you still ought to see if the math department would take the logic part out. It’s so useless.”
“Yeah,” Tom agreed.
“And,” Pamela added, “if you think of a mathematical middle name for us, feel free to let us know.”
I told them I would, but as they headed on their way, I knew one thing I wouldn’t suggest for a middle name – logic.