Chapter 1: “The Matcha and the Meatball”

“Rumors flew thick and fast about an especially intimidating professor. He read the dictionary for pleasure! He competed in ironman triathlons! He had built a laser in his backyard! All we knew for sure was that he rolled into every session just as the second hand swept the twelve, an entrance so terrifyingly prompt that we suspected him of hiding nearby with a stopwatch. Here was the signature rumpled cashmere jacket, the hip owlish glasses, the cross-body manbag that dared someone, anyone, to ask about the difference between nihilism and existentialism. He’d swirl his mug of matcha, steamwise, as if to demonstrate its fine bouquet.”