Today’s Story A Day May piece was inspired by a crack our #4 Daughter, the amazing Sara Marian, made over the phone last night, by my own struggles with numbers, and by my always-loving and scrupulously honest accountant late mother.
I never thought I was any good at arithmetic. Numbers just didn’t act right for me, the way they did for other people.
It was like I knew what I wanted the answer to be, and could “show my work” to get there, but sometimes the answer was wrong.
Like, D- wrong.
Then we got to mathematics, to Algebra, and I got to use letters along with the numbers, and I could do it right. My math grades went up. All of a sudden, my mother loved me.
Algebra I – A
Plane Geometry – A
Algebra II – A
Solid Geometry – A
Oh, but pre-Calculus…. I squeaked through pre-Calc with a C+, but that wasn’t good enough. Not for Mr. Beauregard, the head of the Math Department, and not for my mom.
“You’re just not ready for Calculus,” Old Man Beauregard said. “Just not ready, mmm? I won’t take anybody into my Calc class with less than a solid B. It’s a recipe for failure, and it would drag down the momentum of the entire class, mmm?”
“Pre-Calc doesn’t make any sense,” I protested. “Math like that doesn’t make any sense! Imaginary numbers? What kind of craziness is that? Imaginary numbers?
Just imagine I got the right answer!
How’s that for imaginary numbers?”
And then I got it. It was a trick. It was a trick, just like the one that gave me grief in arithmetic, only now I could see how to use it to get the answer the book wanted.
Kids always ask the teacher, “Why do I gotta know this junk? When am I ever gonna use this in real life?”
I’m telling you: A competent accountant can always find a decent job. But an accountant who can take imaginary numbers and produce the answer you want him to produce — That guy can make money.
Also: I’m binge-watching Breaking Bad, yo.
This post is part of Linda G. Hills weekly blog hop, One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner or just like them, follow the link.
A WRITING PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: A child feels they have to earn a parent’s love.