Tuesday, December 14, 2010

finding the equation of friendship

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
Not that everything math related reminds me of my husband, but it kind of does. So every time an equation came into play in this touching story, I would think, I bet Ken can figure that out. But because this story was about way more than math, you don’t need a left brained husband to find this one interesting. The Housekeeper and the Professor is a story about a man who, due to an accident, has short term memory loss. So, just like Dory from “Finding Nemo,” the professor can only remember things in an 80 minute window. After that, he has no recollection of anything or anyone. A housekeeper was hired to care for him, and the two form a strong relationship. How, do you wonder, when the professor can’t even remember the conversation he had 2 hours ago? Well, he does keep little notes posted to his suit, but it goes beyond that. The professor, housekeeper, and housekeeper’s son, don’t worry about the past, but instead focus on the present. They spend time on the things they like (math problems and baseball), and enjoy each other’s company while they have it. Talk about learning to seize the day. This book was written in 2003 in Japanese, and recently translated to English, so the baseball teams and players aren’t as recognizable, but the story is completely universal. There are a few stories dealing with short term memory loss (“Memento,” “Finding Nemo,” “50 First Dates”), but this is the most realistic version, and the one with the most heart.

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