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Rated X + Y

Updated on December 1, 2009

Rated X + Y

I live an uncomplicated life. It costs me very little to keep it that way. Does anyone ever say, “I don’t think I’ll go on this hot date tonight because I’d rather stay at home and do math?”
John drove from Florida to New York in twenty-four hours stopping twice at a rest stop for a one hour nap. Paul made the same trip in twenty-eight hours stopping once for a two hour nap. Combined, the nap time totaled four hours and the driving time totaled fifty-two hours. If John and Paul had shared the driving, how many inches of snow could Connecticut expect next winter...
Do people really talk about this stuff?
When I was a child, I understood that 2 plus 2 is 4, but why isn’t 2 and 2 22. One 2 next to another 2 certainly looks like a 22. I was able to count to ten. I had no problem with twenty and up, but I had a real hard time with everything between ten and twenty. My solution? Eleventy-one, eleventy-two, eleventy-three, all the way to eleventy-nine. I was fine from twenty on. Telling time was another thing altogether. Twelve fifteen was three after twelve. A quarter to one was nine before one or nine after twelve depending on who asked.
This semester I am taking pre-algebra. I wasn’t ready for this one. I understand that 3 times 4 equals 12, but noooo…it’s not that simple with algebra. Algebra exists for the sole purpose of complicating my life. Now there’s a whole process that one must go through to prove that 3 times 4 equals 12. Get a load of this:
3 times two times two equals twelve or 3 times 2 equals 6 and 6 times 2 equals 12 or 3 times 2 squared equals 12. My future, which by the law of averages is not too much longer, depends on my understanding this process. My happiness and sense of self-worth is at stake if I do not learn how to complicate simple problems. My life can be ruined. I may never be able to write another article, get a good job, or find the woman of my dreams if I can’t explain 3 times 4 equals twelve.
I‘m not sure where this headache came from. Maybe I’m thinking too much about the $150.00 I paid for a book that promised to further uncomplicate my already uncomplicated life by explaining how to uncomplicate uncomplicated problems by making them more complicated. Does anybody have an aspirin?


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