Saturday, October 11, 2008

Six foot eight in perfect step?

Coach Driscoll on far right, next to 6'3" Dave Ellison

Back at Robinson’s cafeteria in the late 70’s, Scott Burnette and I often debated, over whether the tall freshman basketball coach, Mr. Driscoll, hit his head on the 6 foot 8 inch metal doorjamb, whenever he entered the teacher’s lounge. Our strategically placed rhombus lunch table and enthusiasm for basketball, gave us distinct advantages, so that we should have been easily able to determine this geometric quandary; however the evidence gathered from both sides made a full proof more elusive than we imagined.

Now, ten thousand lunches later, Scott and I continue this debate.

Back in the day, as we perched on chair edges, one of our conversations probably went like this:

Banholzer: There! He definitely hit his head that time.

Burnette: No way dude! He only scuffed his hair. That doesn’t count!

Banholzer: He scruffed it as a point of confidence, knowing full well that he could have bumped it, had he really wanted to!

Burnette: No, I saw it; he clearly cheated by momentarily rising up on his tiptoes, to make it look like he scuffed it. Furthermore, right before he entered, he was out rubbing his Chuck T’s on the carpet for shock effect, so that when he came into the cafeteria, his hair would raise up to the magnetically attractive metal, for more visual effect.

Here are some further points of consideration for Scott and me to ponder:

1. All of Robinson’s interior doorjambs conformed perfectly to the six-foot eight-inch height. I personally measured several of these and never found one off, even by an eighth of an inch. The school’s construction crew competence matched the precision level of ancient Egyptian pyramid masons.

2. For months, I surreptissishly tracked behind my friend, the 6’8¼ inch center Tiss, to analyze the dipping method he utilized to pass lightly beneath Robinson archways. As he swooped under, I would sometimes “peep up” a few inches to gain an advantageous angle. I figured this would qualify me for better snap judgments in those crucial milliseconds when Mr. Dricsoll passed through our lunch arch. Although Mr. Driscoll was only a shade over six-seven, that was merely his barefooted height. It’s fair to wear shoes in modern door-bumping society. When Mr. Driscoll’s wasn’t wearing his Chuck T’s, he usually wore a comfortable pair of penny-loafers. I believe that these well-broken-in (squished down) shoes, combined with his always-thin socks added ½ to ¾ inches to his estimated 6’7 & 3/32 inch frame.

3. To further confound aspiring four-dimensional-geometric-puzzle-solvers, everybody dressed up for game days, including Mr. Driscoll. On those days, it was stylish to don fancy shoes with two-inch heels. This added a new element to our daily judging event. Furthermore, we know that a man is generally one inch taller after a restful night as his spine stretches out. Therefore, Mr. Driscoll’s midday lunch break is a fair time for us to judge whether he bumped his head.

4. Anecdotal evidence shows that one afternoon; Mr. Driscoll was distracted by a female instructor’s miniskirt, which caused him to forget ducking, resulting in a severe bump atop his head. This presented a new problem, because now he was temporally ¼ inch taller. Some say that he did not actually forget to duck that day, but that the mini-skirt created a higher testosterone level, which naturally brings along an extra confident dip in everyman’s peacock step, albeit at an inopportune head-conking epiphany moment.

Footnote: On a separate, but equally interesting measuring issue, I was unable to determine the exact length of the female instructor’s mini-skirt, though I estimate it as four inches. Had this Southern Belle hailed me to measure it, I would have done so by graciously pressing my hand in a precision manner against her leg, as I knew well the inch marks on my hand from repeated attempts to jam over Robinson’s exact ten foot rims, which I also measured obsessively with the best tools available in that era.

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