...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The one where Jeff Foxworthy would call me stupid...

I've made no secret of the fact that I grew up on the mean streets of the Midwestern suburbs. I got my first piercing (my ears, yo!) at 13. Got to go to the mall by myself at 14, G. Got hella crunk for the first time at legal. Hardcore, bitches! I learned to get through life by livin' it, you know? It comes down to this: I got my mind on my money and my money on my mind. That's just a really lame way of saying I can balance my checkbook, because balancing it (straight up perfect the last six months, homes!) involves only simple math. Or, as I like to call it, life math. It's all I've needed for the better part of half my life.

Until this week.

My oldest son, a fifth grader, came home last night with math homework. Because my baby daddy done been gone a few nights now, the job of helping my boy fell upon me. The lone question left on the page: What is the prime factorization of 54?

WFT? What the hell is a prime factorization? Straight to the Internet I went! Yeah. Big help. WTF is this? Integers? Internet, you have brought me fear, joy, more fear and, finally, the answer to this math question. Sort of. You didn't show me how to figure it out and then explain it to a fifth grader. Because I think you know I'm math stupid, Internet, and for that, I hate you. Well, I don't mean I hate you because I'm math stupid. I mean you just don't give me the easy answers, and you'd think if any place would have them, you would. Sigh.

(I totally thank you for the opportunity to browse all the free porn I'd ever care to, though, Internet. If I cared to. Whatevah. I secretly love you, Internet.)

I couldn't help him. "Let's save this one until your dad gets home," I cried. Like "I need to yell about nothing for awhile,' cried. Then I may have actually cried. Like "tears falling from my eyes," cried. "What the hell is a prime number? I've never spoken of these things in my life! Thus, this isn't life math!" I muttered out of earshot. "This is 'I will mock you and call you fat because I'm a dick,' math."

I could damn near hear that annoying Jeff Foxworthy making fun of me because, apparently, I'm not smarter than a fifth grader. So what, Jeff Foxworthy? So what? What do you have that I ain't got, other than a bajillion dollars and Larry the Cable Guy's telephone number? I closed the math workbook and looked at the title on the cover. Nope. It sure wasn't 'learn it on the streets life math.' It was 'everyday math.' My bad. And my ass! Prime numbers don't balance my checkbook (um, and if they do, don't make fun of me when you school me, k?). I think prime numbers just get you cut on the mean streets here if you go around bein' all flashy and knowin' 'em.



Blogger Sailor said...

Better than me, at least you can balance the checkbook- thank god for quicken!

I made it as far as some basic college algebra, when they threw imaginary numbers at me, I got totally lost. So I offended the professor, by informing her that if she can imagine numbers, she can imagine that I care.

Never took another math class in my life, thank you very much, so here's one that understands completely where you're coming from.

*And, a midwestern boy too!*

Friday, October 26, 2007 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger Confused Husband said...

Check this out: yahoo answers It breaks it down to get the exact answer and shows the math on how to get there.

Friday, October 26, 2007 1:57:00 AM  
Blogger Nanette said...

Confused husband always has the answer for you.

As for skipping the ass kicking, only because he would not be worthy of the time wasted.


Friday, October 26, 2007 2:41:00 AM  
Blogger Biscuit said...

I would fail 3rd grade math if I had to take it right now. Math homework gets handed off to the baby daddy (I am SO calling him that as soon as I get a chance!) in this house, too.

Friday, October 26, 2007 7:49:00 AM  
Blogger Recovering Soul said...

Laiiiiddd back.

I have a math story!

When I eventually went to college, I had been out of school for 6 years or so. We were required to take a test for math placement, to determine if we should re-take the basic math or move up to the regular math class.
As we sat down, I couldn't remember anything. "x? I'll put x where I want to put x. And what are you going to do about it?!" However, it was a multiple choice test, and loving a challenge, I started taking the test by narrowing down the options. "This negative and this negative should make a positive..." and so on. Basically, I cheated the system.

Well, I actually passed the test well enough that they wanted me to try and test out of calculus. Needless to say, I declined their generous offer.

And thank goodness I did. When I started math that semester I didn't know ANY of the basics I needed to do it. I ended up working with a math tutor for the first few weeks just to catch up on that stuff.

Good times.

Friday, October 26, 2007 8:22:00 AM  
Blogger Therese in Heaven said...

What RS doesn't say, and I think is an important "rest of the story" is he went on to take Calculus 1 & 2 and aced both classes. (I was very proud of him)

I, on the other hand, music major that I was, took Math for Dummies in college, also known as Mathematics and the Liberal Arts.

Friday, October 26, 2007 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger FTN said...

Ah, the Math for Dummies (I mean Music Majors). Yes, Autumn took that class in college as well, Therese.

So, Fadkoggie, how did you get through all of your schooling without even knowing what a prime number is? Seriously?

Oh, that's right, I forgot. A journalism degree. Never mind.

I kind of like math. Numbers are cool. And you have no idea how sexy that makes me with the ladies.

Friday, October 26, 2007 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Desmond Jones said...

Well gosh, DKG, I don't want to rub your nose in it, or anything, but I'm actually kind of a 'Math Worker' (you know, like how they call prostitutes 'sex workers'?). In fact, before I got my Engineering degree, I spent a couple years as a Math major (I hope that doesn't make you think less of me. . .), and I actually graduated with more Math credits than my roommate, who got a Math degree (Yeah, I know; Major nerd-itude).

But, gee, I don't recall doing prime factorizations until 7th grade; yer boy must be 'gifted' or somethin'. . .

And I would never mock you, or call you fat. 'Cuz that's just the kind of guy I really am. . .

Friday, October 26, 2007 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Bunny said...

I remember prime numbers, but "factorization." WTH? I've got no clue. I was just proud of the fact that when we got our first semester grades in law school, I was the only one in a group of 25 of us who could remember how to compute a grade point average. And could do so without a calculator. Ah, those were the days.

Don't they have homework help hotlines for parents? If not, they should. My kindergartener is going to pass the point of Mom being able to help any day now.

Friday, October 26, 2007 3:54:00 PM  
Blogger Trueself said...

Ok, someone tell me if I'm right or if I (as usual) have no clue.

How geeky am I that I even answered this question and then want to know if I got the right answer?

Friday, October 26, 2007 5:38:00 PM  
Blogger The Savage said...

Umm I got nothing.... but I lust you....

Friday, October 26, 2007 6:13:00 PM  
Blogger Nature Girl said...

Um you balance the checkbook? Like for reals? No way dude (ette) that's like why God invented husbands, accountants, and microsofe money. (minus the accountant part, unless I was single then I'd totally have an accountant!) I don't do math. Not ever. Not for no one, not for no reason, no how. Nope...
My kids are afraid to even utter the M word in my presence because it ALWAYS reduces me to tears of the crying variety. The very WORD! Let alone the action of putting it into practice. Nope. I don't care how stupid that makes me or what Jeff Foxworthy would say about me cuz you know what? I've seen him, and he's scrawny, and I could so totally take him and I WOULD kick his ass!

Wow...I was kinda passionate about that huh?

Friday, October 26, 2007 7:40:00 PM  
Blogger kimmyk said...

I haven't balanced a checkbook in damn near 6 years. I just use my debit card and give the receipts to Jamie who then watches the money in the bank. I don't know. I gave up on math and having money a long time ago. I hate math. But maybe your son can help me with my next math class? Or better yet-you. Yeah you can help a sistah out.

Friday, October 26, 2007 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger 2amsomewhere said...

I might just have to write a Half Nerdy Thursday post on this topic...


Saturday, October 27, 2007 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Mandy Lou said...

Balance a check book - what's that? I just spend the money and let Scott deal with the aftermath (get it? aftermath! sorry.).

I had to help our friend's first grader with his math homework the other day, now that I can manage.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger 1blueshi1 said...

heh, the only reason I passed remedial algebra AS A SENIOR IN HIGH SCHOOL was my penchant for running around the neighborhood during severe thunderstorms. In my bikini. Who knew my math teacher lived there too?
I didn't learn how to take percentages off of things until a college teacher explained how you could figure you what 20% was by multiplying the number by .20
Man, I was SO down wit dat, homie. Talk about LIFE MATH--if it helps me figure out how much cheaper shoes are, I can totally learn it! Like, totally.

Saturday, October 27, 2007 5:03:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

Sailor - Good lord. Imaginary numbers? No. This is not possible. Shall I regale you with how the downfall of my math prowess started in first grade when they handed me a worksheet and I screwed up on 1+1? Yeah. Downhill from day one. So I don't want to even *think* about what imaginary numbers would do to me!

and - Midwest! Represent!

CH - You are like my little Google! I did find the answer in my search, but it was finding a way to explain how that answer was achieved that was my biggest downfall. That and I have little patience for directions. I basically screw myself over in this academic arena.

Nan - If 'y' represents the amount of ass kicking and 'x to infinity' represents the amount of time wasted already...bah. there is, quite clearly, no answer. And god forbid this was a 'yes' or 'no' quiz...

Biscuit - Don't tell anyone, but I swear to you, my baby daddy even deals with the kindergarten math homework that comes home.

Yes. Absorb that a minute. Kindergarten homework. KINDERGARTEN MATH!! Good thing I got some looks, that's all I'm sayin'...

RS - So, what you're telling me here is, on some level, you're like a freakin' Rain Man! You're sort of like a god to me, you know?

My first semester of college, I took Math for Utter and Complete Idiots. I barely passed. I've not sat in a math environment since.

Therese - I took "Math For You Poor, Poor Idiot" in college. I often prayed I'd not be called upon to answer even the most simple of questions, becuase, honestly, they all seemed quite hard to me. Addition and subtraction, baby! It's all I need. Well, it was all I needed befroe I had kids. Freakin' homework...

FTN - I got through college, Numby, on charm and a stellar ability to bust out killer headlines. I've a way with the wordy words, no? Seriously. No.

Math nerds, however, get me hot, what with all their talk about 'pi' and 'infinity.' And because I do need someone who can help my kids with their homework.

Desmond - See above! I'd never look down upon a math nerd! Not at all. I say, if you got the theorems, flaunt them!

Look to me to be coming to you with any and all math problems. Thank you in advance for not looking down upon me when the mind boggling issue of fractions rears it's ugly head once again!

Bunny - I bet they'd kick me off a homework hotline because I'd not be able to clearly state my problem. What with all the tears and blubbering. Kudos for knowing how to figure a GPA, too. I never even tried that.

Trueself - Not geeky at all. And you do have the right answer. My biggest thing was how do I show my son the work involved from going from 54 to that equation. I still don't know!

Savage - Good! At least I always know the answer to that!

Stacie - If I didn't balance the checkbook, the bills wouldn't get paid. They barely get paid now. Despite my math issues, I'm the bookkeeper in the house. Honestly, I've done a little happy dance the last six months that the statement has been down to the penny perfect. That never happens, and if something happens to divert that, I'm screwed.

Thanks for having my back should it come down to a drag down with Jeff Foxworthy. Something tells me he's evil. He's got shifty eyes. My plan is to freakin' stay away from him.

kimmyk - You've hit on why my checkbook has balanced for the last six months. We've got no money. Makes completely that chore a breeze! And sure, I'll help you out on your next math class. Unless you caught that part up there where I confessed to f'in it up on the basics of addition in first grade and pretty much digging a grave from there. Either way, I'll probably just do stuff to distract you and keep you from doing your math, so if you're good with that, then we've got a deal.

2am - If you do, and I hope that you do, but if you do, please, please, please make me seem somewhat brilliant, k? Thank you.

Mandy - Aftermath! Good one! You're here all week, right? I'd tip my waitress, but I have no money and I'd also have to figure out the percentage based on my bar tab, and, umm...yeah...

1blueshi1 - Now why didn't I think what the power a bathing suit + electrical storm + nearby math teacher would equal?! Probably because my math teachers were all old women. This probably explains why I still sometimes stumble on those quick percentage off problems. I'm such a loser.

Sunday, October 28, 2007 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger FTN said...

You do have a way with the wordy words. The adjectives, the adverbs, the dangling participles. It's quite impressive.

I was going to point out that, if I remember correctly, I scored nearly 200 points higher on the math portion of the SATs than on the English. Which, quite honestly, probably means I've got no business writing a blog.

Monday, October 29, 2007 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

FTN - I've always been a big fan of dangling participles. Big, big fan.

Might you be my phone a friend should the day come when I ever get to display this prowess I have for trivial knowledge and unfortunate math questions if I ever appear on a game show?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 8:47:00 AM  
Blogger FindingHeart said...

Ah, prime factorization. Even more difficult that figuring it out on your own with no clue is trying to teach it to kids because they'll be tested on it and trying to make it seem important at the same time. "So, you're at GameStop looking for Halo when...."

Future Math questions:: Google DrMath.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 9:32:00 AM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

FH - Factor in the reality that I get a discount at GameStop and I'd probably be all over that particular type of lesson!

In the meantime, I've bookmarked Dr. Math! Thanks for the insight! I think, after reviewing that link, I "get" it! Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 7:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2 * 3 * 3 * 3 = 54.
also written:
2 * 3^3 = 54

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger for a different kind of girl said...

anonymous - yeah for people out there who know way more about math than I ever may, and who will fill me in on what I need to do to get to the answers!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007 11:30:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home