A protractor, a caliper, and a ruler

One fine day in a Physics lab, a professor and his student, Vernier, have the following conversation:

Professor: Vernier, bring all the measurement tools in your possession to the front, please.

Vernier: Yes, Professor. May I know what they will be used for?

Professor: Well, to measure, of course. *taking a few coins out from his desk* Now, here are some old coins made from different materials and of different dimensions. I want you to tabulate all their radius and diameters to the nearest millimeter. Please get it done in 15 minutes.

Vernier, given limited time, straightaway looks at all his measurement tools. A caliper and a ruler: which one is it?

Vernier: Should I use the ruler? No, it won’t be accurate. Ah, the caliper, it is. Let see… *doing some measurement on the coins*

15 minutes passed.

Professor: So.. How is it?

Vernier: All’s ready, Prof! Here is a table showing their dimensions.

Professor: Good job, Vernier! Off you go to your next class.

Vernier: Thank you, Professor!

Vernier rushes to his next class which is his Mathematics class taught by the infamously stringent teacher, Ms μm (read: Miss Microm). And, on this day, they are having a quiz.

Ms μm: Is everyone here? Good. We will be having a quiz as I had mentioned earlier. It will test you on your understanding of Trigonometry and…

Ms μm continues explaining while Vernier is busy finding the one thing that everyone in his class but him carries with them, a protractor.

Ms μm: ..and for the last question, please provide a graphical proof using triangles of the appropriate angles. You may begin… now!

Sound of pencils scratching off paper is filling the room, followed by the scene of paper flipping and students scratching their head. Vernier keeps his calm and starts doing all questions until he reaches the final question.

Vernier: *whispering* Hey! Could I borrow your protractor? I couldn’t find mine.

Student A: Sorry, Vernier. I am quite busy at the moment.

Student B: Uhh.. Can’t you see that I am using it?

Ms μm: Vernier! Do I need tell you that cheating or collaborating with other students during quiz is not allowed in our school, and you will be liable to disciplinary actions?

Vernier: No, Miss. I was just borrowing protractor from my classmates to do the last question.

Ms μm: Hmph! How lucky of you that I happen to bring my protractor with me today. *giving her protractor to Vernier* Return it to me as soon as you finish the last question.

Vernier quickly completes his solution to the remaining question. Not so long afterward, the quiz ends.

Vernier: Thank you, Ms μm.

Ms μm: *silently leaving the class*

Then, Mr Euclid, the Art teacher, enters the class.

Mr Euclid: Okay, class, we are about to learn how to draw circles in perspectives. I hope you all bring your compass as I do not have it with me.

Vernier: …


A caliper is used to measure inner/outer diameter as well as thickness of tiny stuff.

A protractor is used to measure angle between two lines.

A ruler? While it was not mentioned plainly in the story, it can be deduced that Vernier used the ruler to draw lines for the table in his Physics lab, and to draw triangles in the last question of the Mathematics quiz.

Moral of the story:

Everyone has their own talents given by the Creator. It is only a matter of recognizing those gifts and fulfilling their purpose set by the Creator. No use of complaining what we had missed in the past. Start your day with gratitude of what you currently have and nurture your talents.

Happy December, folks! It is the first time for me writing this kind of story with this many dialogues instead of narratives. I am just trying out a new style of writing. This story, initially, had a different moral than what it is written above. It was inspired by my late night conversation with Dhika about how long steak should be cooked befo.. err.. I mean how man should hold on to his principle and values anytime especially when they are looking for his lifelong partner (don’t question why we could arrive to this topic).  Here is what I had in mind:

It is an analogy between understanding love and how the tools are used. A ruler may be used in measuring the thickness of a coin but it certainly produces more errors. Therefore, a caliper is a more appropriate tool. Likewise, men may ‘force’ their way to find women they want to love and, ultimately, marry them. Yet, love is neither a hide-and-seek game nor a target-seeking missile. Love needs mutual understanding from both parties, a ‘fit’ between man and woman.

In our analogy, the student needs to comprehend his problem and what it requires of him, as well as knowing the capability of each tool before he can use the right tool for each problem. I believe that love happens in a similar fashion. Both men and women have their own gifts from God, their capabilities. He prepares both of them before they meet and promises this:

Genesis 2:18

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.

The challenging thing is to keep believing this and to listen to what God has prepared for you. For a stubborn man like me, if I was given a ruler to measure angles, I would certainly convince myself that it is possible. (Yes, it is possible) In the end, only the Creator knows our limits. Trust Him.



Author: Arga Roh Sahrijal Saragih

I love to learn. I love to code. I love to read. Gonna be a professional Software Engineer. Happy to sing and to write. Enjoy a good company. Prefer tea. Manage an online library at https://instagram.com/ruangbaca__

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