Math wasn’t my subject. Ever. Well, that’s not entirely true: learning long division (younger people will have to look that up) was fascinating and made sense in the same way that diagraming sentences (see above parentheses) did. The method broke everything down visually; you knew where you stood, starting with the basics: subject (noun) and predicate (verb). She went. He followed. They fought. Everything after that was supporting cast.
Math? Same. Dividend (big number), divisor (small number). Look, even I went one better than this:
Right, Baldrick, let's try again, shall we? This is called adding. If I have two beans, and then I add two more beans. What do I have?
I managed to out-master the ape creatures of the Indus and the Renaissance wasn’t just something that happened to other people. I was a dab hand at the Big Four - without a calculator – all through Elementary School.
And then came Seventh Grade. Good God, what on earth are all those weird symbols? I know what fractions are, I can use a ruler and a measuring cup. ‘Kay, but according to the NEA website for 8th Grade algebra that I just went to for reference, this is what they’re saying:
3a + 4b = 7ab. Hubby says ????? Evidently – and he’s the math guy in the family – it makes no sense. Like it ever bloody did:
Prime Number: A positive number that cannot be divided by any whole number other than itself and one. Nine is an example of a prime number.
Ratio: A ratio is a comparison between two things. A colon is generally used to indicate ratio, as in 3:4. A ratio describes how many times one of the two items can be put into the other; another way to think of it is as a size comparison.
Natural Numbers: These are usually defined as non-negative numbers, so anything from zero up.
No, please, don’t explain. I’ll just continue to wing it. And so, with many, many math Fs on my otherwise pretty good report cards, I learned, like someone hiding their inability to read, how to estimate. And, y’know what? By the time I got to college, I could cut an accurate mat with an Xacto knife - by eye. I could guess at how much fabric I’d need for forty pastel-colored banners hanging 14ft from a gym ceiling at about 6-8 feet apart and spare the school committee cost overages. And who the fractal doesn’t like geometry?
As for onions, olives, and Ranch Dressing – it’s complicated . . .