Giraffes, or Mansplaining

She held the mirror up to check her unruly hair and then adjust it until perfectly scrambled.

‘How come I see what’s behind me, in front of the mirror?’

This had to be a defining moment in their budding relationship. He would impress her with an answer she couldn’t expect.

‘That’s why they’re called virtual rays and image. The rays forming the image, don’t exist, so neither does the image.’

‘Rays, make an image we can see, but nothing is real although we have a name for everything? I can’t get my head around that one. Are you an aberration, too?’

There it was – the smile to melt his ice cream! He, a simple teacher of physics, had been presented with the opportunity to profile his knowledge, in front of this goddess, who had admitted to only having a degree in psychology. OK! He was using knowledge from the 18th century, but he could dress it up.

‘No. An aberration is when light misbehaves such as being reflected when one expects refraction, or a lens isn’t spherical.’

‘What’s refraction?’

‘If the medium changes density, it slows long wavelengths more, causing light to bend and split into its components, which we call a spectrum.’

‘Yer having a giraffe.’

No laughing matter

A nice strategy there, he thought, swopping subjects, but he felt up to it.

‘That’s Darwin, biology. If food is on high trees, natural selection favours tall animals so over generations animals get taller or have more neck.’

She rounded on him, but with a big smile, said, ‘And what about psycholinguistics?’

He stuttered, then came to a flummoxed halt.

‘It is the study of what language really tells us,’ she continued, ‘and I just gained quite an insight into you, my love. Exaggerated language leads to overclaiming and spin, making it harder to evaluate. But I’ve evaluated, and God hates know-alls. Would you like to wear this mirror?’ and she stroked his lips.

‘Point taken,’ he conceded.

Published by Clive La Pensée

Clive La Pensée, ex-science teacher, recognised writer on history of beer, novelist, expressionist, dreamer, believer in never giving up, empathiser, hopeful for a future without class, gender or racial prejudice. It's tough and at the moment, one has to remember distance travelled, rather than where we are at.

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