Light-hearted fears

Jul 10th, 2007 | By | Category: Personal Columns

The scariest opening lines of a book I ever read were from H.G. Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds’

“No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their affairs they were scrutinized and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinize the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.”

Hearing them read by Richard Burton in a recording still had the power to send a shiver down my spine when I was seventeen!

The words came back to me this evening when our son’s Applied Maths teacher ‘phoned. Applied mathematics for me is a discipline beyond that of mere mortals.

“I know where your house is”, he said, “it is one of the new yellow houses on the road between the motorway and Dun Laoghaire.”

More intimidating than any prospect of a Martian invasion!

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