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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Little pieces of paper

The other day, during the pre-Shabbat clear-away-the-scattered-junk-fest, Michael stumbled upon a plastic bag full of little notes, on each of which Nehemiah had written his name.   Michael asked what they were, and Nehemiah answered that they were good behavior notes-- notes that the teachers give to the students as a reward for said behavior.  Whoever has the most at the end of the year, Nehemiah explained, gets a very big prize.

"Wow," Michael responded, "Have you gotten any recently?"  Nehemiah answered, "No, the teacher stopped giving them out a few weeks ago."  Then, Nehemiah continued: "The only way to get more of the notes now is by gambling."

Yes, you read it correctly.  In typical fashion, this enterprising group of fifth graders realized that since the notes can be converted into valuable goods, that they are effectively a form of currency.  Look out, Bitcoin, there's a new currency in town!

And of course, once the demand for the good behavior notes cannot be met because of the dry-up in the supply chain, a gambling market sprung up enabling the notes to continue to circulate.

It makes sense.  Unless, as one friend of ours pointed out, the reason the supply of notes dried up was because the teacher simply forgot about it or decided to quietly end the program.  I don't even know how economists would describe what would happen to the little 5th grade economy when the currency loses all of its value.  

Anyway, speaking of numbers games, it is a good thing that L likes math because she has a great deal of math homework, made more challenging by virtue of its Hebrew presentation.  And before you start rolling your eyes and thinking, "how different can math be?"  try doing long division backwards yourself.

And naturally, since I set up a home study program for Hebrew with my easy newspaper and found a partner to practice conversational Hebrew with, the ulpan has decided to let me join.  I suppose I'll never know why they had a change of heart but my guess is the phone call I made to the government branch that advocates for immigrants.  Anyway, even though they will be making a space for me they can't let me start the class just yet because that would be too obvious.  There are many adjectives one could use to describe this process but "obvious" would not be one of them.

The most exciting news of the week is the arrival of Michael's treadmill desk.  Yes readers, we are that cutting edge.  Hats off to Michael who did all the research (this article is interesting) and then found the one Israeli company that makes the treadmill desk.  A few months ago as part of his health revolution M started the couch to 5k program and now he is running 5k a few days a week.  He and a friend are hoping to train for a 10k race in the spring.  I will keep you posted how the desk fits into the overall health picture.


  1. "friend"... heh heh heh.
    Also - I HATE the backwards division! Drives me crazy!

    1. Michael only runs with the cool kids Gila ;)