As far back as I can remember, I’ve thought that learning higher math was stupid. Maybe it’s for the same reason that I hate football: I’m not good at it. I remember sitting for HOURS as a kid with my math homework, frustrated and angry. My grandpa’s brother was an engineer, and when I was in sixth grade, we had to call him for help and he had no idea what kind of math I was doing. I’m not sure how well ten-year-old me conveyed the assignment, but it didn’t teach me much except that I thought it was stupid.
In middle school and high school, my aunt, a licensed math and music teacher, came over every week to tutor me in math. Minnesota passed a law that briefly declare that if you didn’t pass this math test in eighth and tenth grade, you couldn’t graduate. Never mind that I read at a college graduate level since age 12, if I couldn’t add letters together then I would destined to flip burgers for the rest of my life. Needless to say, I passed thanks to her.
In seventh grade, I rebelled against the establishment by refusing to do my math homework. I thought it was stupid, and I had SO MANY BETTER THINGS to do than math homework. That habit started to carry over to other classes, so it ended pretty quickly, but I still hated math.
In high school, I was placed in the slow learners class, which amounted to me and three other relatively normal kids, and 29 other absolute burnouts. It was less a class and more a period of “sit down and be babysat.” I could get away with reading since I was quiet and well behaved, and my teacher even let me listen to Miles Davis while we worked on our assignment, even though headphones weren’t allowed.
By the time I got to my senior year, I was done with math. I KNEW that I would never be in a position where I HAD to do complex equations without any sort of assistance, and I was DONE. I didn’t care. While I was eventually allowed to drop math to skip a year of French (since I was a language nerd) I had to sit through one quarter of math. Our teacher tasked us with writing technical instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I wasn’t sure why we had to do it, but I knew what she was getting at and I wouldn’t have it. I knew she’d take things literally to teach us a lesson, so I wrote things very, very specifically. Needless to say, it was my final stab against math. Here’s what I wrote. Take that, mathematics!
Find an old car with gas in it.
Crack open the plastic around the keyhole that turns the car on. Find the two wires that are the same color, and cross them. Hear that engine roar.
Drive to the nearest supermarket, buy a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter (crunchy OR creamy, it matters not which) and a jar of jam or jelly of any flavor.
Drive back to school after purchasing aforementioned supplies.
Ditch the car after pouring gasoline in the tailpipe and watching flames shoot out.
Giggle a little. But just a little.
Return to classroom and discover a loaf of bread already there waiting for you.
Obtain two slices of bread which are of approximately the same mass, size, and shape from bag, by any means your twisted soul desires.
Obtain peanut butter (crunchy OR creamy, it matters not which) and jelly or jam of your choice.
Make sure you have a knife.
Remove lid from the peanut butter jar by grasping the lid with one hand and the jar with another hand and twisting the lid and jar in opposite directions.
Repeat previous step to open jelly/jam jar.
Using adult supervision, place the blade (that’s the sharp part of the knife) into gelatinous of peanut butter approximately 3 ¾” into the peanut butter (Editor’s note: make sure it’s 3 ¾” inches into the peanut butter, not just the jar itself) and using a scooping motion, retrieve the glob of yumminess out of the jar, being oh-so-obscenely-careful not to spill any precious peanut goo on the table.
Place the contents of the knife onto bread. Carefully spread contents back and forth on the bread, utilizing leverage by moving the knife with your hand on the handle (the not sharp part of the knife” and smear on of the flat sides of the bread.
Repeat steps six and seven for the jelly, using the other slice of bread.
To complete sandwich, place the two pieces of bread together so that the peanut butter and the bread are touching each other in a neat and tidy sort of way.
Open mouth. Take sandwich and cram as much of it into your mouth as you can.
Go and sin no more.