I learned something from this poem... or maybe I re-learned one of the many things taught to me that have been
forgotten - the definition of a vinculum. Well, actually, I had to look it up after seeing it. How about you? Do
you know what a vinculum is?
of Contents]These articles are scanned and OCRed from old editions of the
ARRL's QST magazine. Here is a list of the
QST articles I have already posted. As time permits, I will
be glad to scan articles for you. All copyrights (if any) are hereby acknowledged.
A vinculum is a horizontal line placed over a number or numbers to indicating
repeating groups (7/11=0.63), or for negation in Boolean equations (d=a-b+c),
and it is also the dividing line between the numerator and the denominator ().
See all available vintage QST articles.
by Simpson Sasserath, USNR
'WHEN I was in boot training I met a specialist C.
whispered that Pre-Radio was just the thing for me.
I listened to that sexless wave, that smooth GI Iago.
took a test, I took a train - and now I'm in Chicago
With a pencil in my pocket, a slide-rule in my hand,
And notebook full of formulas I do not understand.
Oh, for the life of a qunnerl Oh, for· the life of a cook!
They do their jobs, those lucky gobs, and never
open: a book!
Oh, to be a lieutenant - I'd settle for Junior Grade-
It's algebra each morning and it's algebra each noon,
And homework every night until my head's a big
While always in my shaky hands I hold my little slipstick
The way an aging chorus girl would clutch her
rouge and lipstick.
With fractions, roots and decimals I'm trained to fight the Japs
And I wrestle with
equations from reveille till taps.
Oh, for the life of a striker, who sails o'er the bounding sea-
Not giving a damn about any exam, his mind is clear and free.
A man named Ohm once wrote a law to
solve for any circuit.
They know it's true; I know it's true - and still they make me work it.
me wiring diagrams that cross in all directions,
And then I go into the lab and make the right connections.
Resistor board . . . resistor board . . . give me your answer true.
Oh milliamp, you little vamp, my future
rests with you.
His only care to comb his hair and polish up his
George Washington received applause crossing
And Hannibal, who crossed the
Alps, gave Ancient
Rome a scare.
J. Caesar crossed the Rubicon to make Pompey
a bum -
But all I get is zero when I cross the Vinculum.
Those poundings in my temples do not come from
They're memories of powers of ten I didn't change
Oh, to be a Coast Guard -
or else a gallant Marine -
Who need not pain to make his brain into an adding machine.
please forgive me, that I've hurled such dirty names
At Volta and at Ampere and at Mrs. Watts' boy James.
I've passed my comprehensives and my sleeve has one more stripe.
Do you think my woes are over, that I've no
Well, now in recognition of my industry and ardor
They're sending me to Primary - and that
is even harder!
Oh, for the life of WAC or SPAR! Oh, for the life of a WAVE!
They wear white
roses; they powder their noses, and never study or shave.