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child in winterOne winter, I bought a set of gloves at a large retail store. I was on the way to a winter camp with a group of Scouts and was in a hurry. I tried on the left-hand glove in the store, and it fit OK, so I bought the pair and headed to the nearby canyon.

When we arrived, the temperature outside was 12 degrees Fahrenheit. I  zipped on my coat and confidently pulled out the new gloves. The left one went on without any trouble. But when I tried to put on the glove for my right hand, it just didn’t fit. Either the glove was cut and sewn wrong or my hand is seriously misshapen. Either way, the glove didn’t fit right. Before the one-night camp was over, the seam along the palm of the glove had begun to tear open. Luckily, over the next few hours the temperature rose to 24 degrees, so I didn’t lose my hand to frostbite.

One problem with most products that are mass produced and sold to a large customer base is that—at least for many products—one size does not fit all.

Yesterday I read an article that was written about 30 years ago. The title of the article was, “Nothing that is worth learning can be taught.” A title like that was certainly designed to get attention, maybe stir up some controversy. At the time the article was written (in 1979) the title was probably not so controversial as it might have been 30 years earlier. It also probably wasn’t as controversial as it might be today with a renewed focus on standardized testing in public schools.

So what was the author trying to say?

Sitting at a computer in the kitchen, I pondered over an article I was writing for a local newspaper. Strewn with papers, computer cords, old magazines, and a salt shaker, the table didn’t make a very good work place, but as I didn’t have my own computer I had to settle with using my dad’s at his overcrowded workstation.

My brother was practicing O Polichinelo by Heitor Villa-Lobos—an incredibly fast piano piece comparable to The Flight of the Bumblebee by N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov—in the other room, which made for nice background music. After a few run-throughs, he came to me in the kitchen and asked what a certain symbol meant and how he would play it. Unfortunately, I didn’t know, so we turned to the ever dependable YouTube to find an example of how it was played.