The Queen B, the Ladybug, and I were shopping at Target the other day when out of the blue a woman walked straight up to me and asked, “Are you a math professor at Tech?”

This sort of thing isn’t entirely uncommon in the smallish city where we live, and there’s hardly a day that goes by that I don’t run into a current or former student busily employed in the retail and/or food service industry.    It’s terrific at hardware emporiums and electronics stores, since I can always find relatively qualified help, although it can be a bit harrowing when it comes to eating out.   (Did I fail my waiter last semester, and if so, can I expect the salsa-ptooey-especial on my burrito?)

This, however, was a complete stranger.   I was taken slightly aback, and quickly checked to see if I was wearing a tee-shirt reading “Hi, I’m a math dork, please interact with me.” I wasn’t, and so, slightly flummoxed, I nodded yes to the woman.

“Oh, I knew it!” she bubbled.   “My daughter is in your calculus class, and she just  thinks you’re a great teacher.   I knew it was you, because she said that you look juuuust like her cousin Jebediah, except that you have spiky hair and wear Converse tennis shoes.   Anyway, I just wanted to say hi!”

And with that, she was gone.

The Queen B and I stood  dumb for a moment, before finally articulating our thoughts on the encounter.

The Queen B’s first thought focused on its positive aspects.  “That’s so cool!” she said. “Your students must say great things about you if complete strangers come up to you to congratulate you on your teaching.”

My first thought was more troubling.   “I look like a Jebediah?”

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