Episode seven: Tai's Trouble
When I first met nine year-old boy wonder Tai Poole, I knew I was in the presence of a deeply gifted child.
Tai is a self-taught math genius, born with an innate understanding of complex mathematics. He's fascinated by numerological systems, and loves pouring over second-hand calculus textbooks given to him by local book stores. These books never get sold, because no one understands them, but Tai does.
He effusively rattles off the hard to pronounce names of his math heroes, a list of brilliant minds throughout history that I have never heard of. Tai wants to learn Latin, the language of mathematicians, and he believes that numbers unlock the key to the secrets of life and the universe.
But Tai is not just a numbers guy. He loves playing the piano and guitar. Tai's empathetic nature makes him quick to reach out to those in need — even if it means just sharing his bag of cookies. He is the perfect blend of his computer programmer dad and his yoga instructor mom. Nicky Poole, Tai's mom, recognizes this balance, referring to him as a "mathemagician".
Tai loves solving equations, but he's struggling with an unsettling problem that he can't quite answer, his grandfather suffers from pancreatic cancer. Although he lives far away in New Zealand, they are very close. Seeing him struggling from afar makes Tai feel helpless.
By sharing our experiences with death and sickness, it is my hope that strangers Judy Kennedy, MPP Jagmeet Singh and I can give Tai insight into accepting loss and offer creative ways to collapse the distance between him and his grandpa.
Also, a special thanks to Tai's mom Nicky for accompanying him.
PHOTOS FROM THE EPISODE