October 30th, 2006
|06:25 am - The Year after Glambo: Part V|
I mean, sure, Dad was a math professor, and so I was certain he could solve any solvable problem, but this one, like the problem he'd originally been given for his PhD dissertation (causing no end of trial and tribulation until his advisor admitted that yes, indeed, it was impossible, and gave him a new one), was simply not possible to solve! Or so I thought. I stared at him, hoping that he was just joking.
I should have known that Dad never jokes about mathematics.
"I didn't use the quadratic formula," Dad said, looking at me like I was crazy. "I didn't need to. See, if you have zero-x-squared plus four x plus seventy-two equals zero, then zero-x-squared is just zero so you have 4x + 72 = 0, and so x equals minus eighteen."
I stood there for a moment in shock. I hadn't even thought of that.
"Oh my GOD," I yelled, "I'm not just an evil math professor, I'm a STUPID math professor!"
"Well, you could put in the instructions that you must use the quadratic formula to solve it," Dad offered, obviously trying to make me feel better.
Yeah. Yeah, that was it! God bless Dad, he had saved the day again! I ran off to add the fine print, "IMPORTANT: Use quadratic formula ONLY!" to the instructions for that problem and printed a bunch of them out.
It was time to get dressed. I donned the T-shirt with the message "I survived a year as Chairman of the Math Department," topped it with the Hawaiian shirt, and pulled on Charlie's khaki cargo shorts. I threw on some athletic socks and sneakers, and went into Dad's office to show him the full effect. He sat back and looked at me thoughtfully.
"Hm," he said approvingly. "Hawaiian shirt, shorts, grungy socks, sneakers -- you could take MY job!"
I laughed, and it was time to go. I stuffed my pop quizzes in my pocket, hopped in the car with Mom, and we were off. This year, Cabaret dude was in for an even bigger surprise. I couldn't wait to see how my fellow party-goers would react to this.
We pulled up at the party, and wandered up to the door, where we were met by Satan, Puss in Boots, and a Warlock. They all looked at me quizzically. "Okay, I give up," said Puss in Boots, "what are you?"
I pulled the garish Hawaiian shirt to one side, displaying the message, "I survived a year as Chairman of the Math Department," and smiled evilly. They began to look a bit nervous (possibly remembering Glambo's weapon of the year before) as I reached into my pocket.
"I'm the most frightening thing you can imagine," I stated emphatically. "I am a MATH TEACHER!"
They drew back in horror!
"WITH A POP QUIZ!" I yelled, whipping out a handful of my math problem cards and handing them each the one with the base eight problem on it. They took them with trembling hands.
Well, all but the Warlock, who sneered, "Warlocks do not NEED mathematics!" and swept away with a swirl of his cape. Ohhhhkay. I couldn't really argue with that. Well, I could, but he'd probably beat me to death with his giant warlock staff. Meanwhile, Puss in Boots and Satan were pondering the question.
"I can solve this on the computer," said Puss in Boots.
"NO CALCULATORS!" I yelled.
Satan was looking at the problem, and moving his mouth a bit, as though puzzling it out. "Hey!" he cried, "I know this! It's Tom Lehrer!"
Well, I had anticipated that someone might get this, but I must admit, this was a bit earlier on than I expected. However, since Satan had done Tomfoolery, a musical based on Tom Lehrer's work, I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. He began working out the problem.
"You can't take three from two, two is less than three, so you look at the four in the tens place," he began.
"WRONG!" I shrieked, and grabbed the piece of paper away from him. "You have to do it in BASE EIGHT!"
I whipped out the red pen, wrote a big "F" on his paper, and handed it back.
"But ... but ..." he stammered wistfully, "I have to go through the base ten lyrics to get to the base eight lyrics!"
"All right, all right," I relented, "I'll give you one more chance."
He went through the base ten lyrics and got partially through the base eight lyrics, but then, he stumbled! "And you get one-two base eight which is ... um ... twelve base ten and you take away three ... that's nine."
"WRONG!" I screamed, and grabbed the piece of paper from him. I took out the red pen and changed the "F" to an "F-" and handed it back.
Satan gazed sadly at his paper. "Too bad, so sad," I sneered. I had flunked Satan. The evening was off to a great start! What other feats of terror could I accomplish this night?
[to be continued here.]
Dudette... you so need a "I flunked Satan at maths!" Icon!
I do. I really, really DO!
Der Teufel kann nicht sein aushalten einen Mathematikquiz.
I hope you remembered to screech, "SHOW YOUR WORK!" at all and sundry.
Hahaha! No, I never needed to. Everyone was pretty much flunking anyway at that point.
|Date:||October 30th, 2006 04:49 pm (UTC)|| |
You flunked Satan?
I love it!
BTW Happy Birthday. ;)
|Date:||October 30th, 2006 05:07 pm (UTC)|| |
Re: You flunked Satan?
Heh! Happy B-day to you too! :-)
I'm celebrating my 29th birthday.
I keep thinking your evilness has bounds, then I find out it doesn't!
Hee. The last time I was good at math was in the first grade, when I could do all the adding and subtracting in my head, and the teacher was constantly writing "Show Your Work!!" in red ink on my papers, and I didn't understand what she meant, because there was nothing to "show" but the answer. I practically tore my hair out trying to figure what I was doing wrong! I must have been dreadfully traumatized because that was the last time I ever showed any talent for numbers...
My dad used to do "Math Anxiety" workshops for people. As it turns out, most people are fine with math (bona-fide learning disabilities excluded) until some point, usually in elementary school, when they have a traumatic experience and that pretty much ruins math for them forever. Mine was in fourth grade, and I didn't recover until, many years later, I had to take physics and some other mathy stuff for my degree. I lucked out in having the most awesomest physics teacher ever who made it all make sense. (Well, that and my dad, who, when I said, "Dad, you've gotta teach me enough algebra/trig to get through introductory physics," taught me literally everything I needed to know in abut 2 hours. I was pissed. I was like, "That's IT? That's all they were trying to teach us? Why the hell did they make it so hard???" Dad just shrugged.)
Anyhoo ... so yeah, math anxiety can often be narrowed down to a particular experience and then if you can work through that, a lot of times you can do math. Dad used to be great at working with people like that. Too bad the university cut funding for those workshops.
Two hours? That's incredible. I'm so jealous.
I flunked pre-algebra twice. Never took actual algebra or geometry. And then they put me in "accounting" classes and I did so well I got a special certificate for outstanding performance or something. This surprised people, but I understood accounting principles where I couldn't figure out algebra or geometry *at all*. (And my teacher wanted to know why I was in his class because I was too smart for it and should have been taking pre-college math classes. Ha ha HA. Not me!!)
But I have to say I learned accounting from the textbooks, and the math textbooks we had were absolutely worthless IMO ~ I was trying to *learn* algebra from them, but they seemed put together by people who expected you to learn from the teacher, not the book, so gave almost no explanation or instruction, except for the very easiest problems(!!!). However, the teachers I had would simply copy the already-done sample problem from the book onto the chalkboard. As I mentioned, this was always the easiest problem given in the lesson, and the rest of it would be full of much harder math equations with no explanation of *how* to work them.
It was even worse because I'm deaf so I didn't get the benefit of whatever the teacher had to say to the class or how he answered other students' questions.
I think I would have done much better at math if I had had good textbooks that were actually designed to teach math in and of themselves. I need an "Algebra for Dummies" type of book that lays it all out so I can actually understand what I'm supposed to do.
Heh. There may be an Algebra for Dummies, for all I know! :-) The thing was, most of it just was NOT that difficult! I think most of my teachers in school just really didn't understand it that well themselves, and of course, the texts were horrid. I should have listened to Dad back then, but I was in the whole teen rebellion thing, ya know. :-) Dad has a way of explaining things in different ways until he hits on something that makes sense to the person. Makes him a damn good tutor.
And ... ooh. Now I have an excuse to learn ASL like I've always wanted to! Otherwise if I ever come to visit, I'm going to have to sit there and finger spell at you, and none of us wants that. :-)
But I only know finger-spelling, myself! ;)
I speak like a normal person (or so I flatter myself), and I read lips! Finger-spelling is just for those times I'm having trouble catching a word. My man just learned to finger-spell during my last visit.
I caught meningitis at age 6 and it burnt through my aural nerve ~ I wasn't born deaf. I asked my mom once if I'd lost any stellar ability to sing, and she told me I sang like my dad ... er, not so well. So I didn't have to mourn the loss of a great talent there. Hee.
Darn! There goes my excuse. I studied *about* ASL and other sign languages in grad school (linguistics) and there is a lot of really fascinating research about language acquisition in hearing vs. non-hearing babies. But what with Spanish, French, German and Japanese, I never got around to ASL. :-)
Six years old? Yikes! School must have been tough....
Even Dad cannot be everywhere. Too bad, too, 'cause he's an awesome teacher.
Happy freakin' birthday! I forgot about that 3-in-a-row thing we've got going with you, plk, and that other goofball.
Yeah, what's his name again?
Oh yeah, happy birthday mrsv!
we are the evil birthday trifecta!
Happy birthday to you too. What was it, yesterday? I didn't know ... :-(
Thanks! But no, it's tomorrow. I'm the true and legit halloween birthday, whereas Joseph has to endure the shame of the less cool Nov 1 all saints day birthday.
Hah! You just get lame jokes about being a spook, whereas I get a wellspring of delicious irony. Wanker. >;-P
It's your birthday!
It's your birthday!
Dad took me out for ice cream, and Charlie got me my favorite cake.
He said he didn't, but there's a cake out there. So I'm going to assume it's my favorite cake until proven otherwise.