High School Physics

Every time I set foot in the gym, I’m reminded of the most important lesson I learned in high school.

Picture yourself curling a ruthless and unsafe amount of weight. Your biceps have scared your sleeves up your arm. Your tendons may snap off like a rubber band rocket. You will never look better than at this very moment.

Woah, what’s that! You’ve noticed movement out of the corner of your eyes. In steps an attractive [insert appropriate gender here]. You wonder if [corresponding pronoun] notices the ruthless amount of weight you’re heaving skyward? Obviously you can’t just look directly at the person. But what about a quick peak across the mirror?  

NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT! DON’T DO IT!

It was not long ago that I was a junior in high school. Our science class was taught by a wonderful gentleman who had a midwestern accent, which came out in words like where (“hu-air”), whistle and whale. He was a physics teacher and part of his class involved the study of light and mirrors.

One day we were handed a worksheet that had different mirrors (flat, convex, and concave) and a stick figure. We were asked to draw an arrow (representing a beam of light) from the eyes of the stick figure to the mirror and then back. I can’t remember if this was difficult or not. But all of a sudden, our teacher decided to add a new wrinkle to the assignment. He drew another stick figure and asked: “draw the path of light when they’re looking at each other in the mirror.”

What we discovered on our worksheets that day was both profound and deeply unsettling. No matter how the mirror was shaped, one thing remained constant about looking at someone in a mirror. If you can see them, they can see you (the ogler’s rule). No doubt we all understood the implications of such a discovery. And no doubt, we had all failed to account for this fact in the past.

In despair, I excused myself to the bathroom. I ran the faucet and splashed water on my face. When I looked up from the sink, there I was, face-to-face… with my face... in a mirror. I screamed.

Years later my juvenile horror turned to amusement. I’m quite thankful for the lessons I learned in high school. I’ve noticed many a person sneaking furtive glances at me in a mirror. I chuckle. If only they knew…

Football was meant to be played in leather helmets and sweaters. Currently taking suggestions for which NHL team I should support.

Twitter: @IshFarooqui