Algebra, My Grandpa, and BLADE RUNNER


In the summer of 1982, I had to study Algebra almost all summer long, for two months, 10 hours a day, to make up for a failing grade, in order to get into college after my senior year.

After an enormous amount of mental effort, I finally passed Mr. Patel’s accelerated summer school course. On the final test I got a B+. I was so satisfied by that. I never worked so hard on anything in my life.

On the day I finished my Algebra-only summer school, I saw BLADE RUNNER at the Skyway Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My mind was absolutely drenched with mathematical equations. To this day, I vividly remember the quality of the sunlight and the carpet in the movie theater, because there was such a shock going from the intensely mental to the intensely viscerally physical. My ears were filled with music by Vangelis. My eyes grew wide with the glowing lights and the rain and the plot and the woman in the poster art, and the energy and the excitement and the absolutely unique futuristic visual innovation of one Mr. Ridley Scott, one of the greatest movie directors ever to breathe earth’s air.

BLADE RUNNER made an indelible impression on my mind and heart. Visceral experience. I don’t like this film–I love this film.

I realize right now, as I write this, that that summer-long difficult math experience was a gift from God. How? Half or more of every day, my Grandpa, Carl Thiele, helped me with my studies. We spent a lot of time together. He is the best and most godly and hard-working and loving and forgiving and positive and wise and Christ-like and Spirit-led believer man I have ever met. The following year, he died unexpectedly at age 70. I just had a wave of intense emotion while writing this.

One of the best things about going to Heaven will be seeing my Grandpa again.

Curtis Smale


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