Write What You Know

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The most common bit of advice I have received from writers is simply, “Write what you know.” Based on that advice alone, I will never write about math. I do not know math. Well, that’s not entirely true. I do know addition and subtraction, provided you give me a minute to get the visual in my head and work at it for a few minutes. If the problem involves single digits, I should be able to have an answer for you within seconds. If double digits are involved, I’ll need a little more time. If triple digits are involved, you might as well check in with me the following day.

Why is math so difficult for me? I fear it, plain and simple. Many of my friends are math wizards. At least, I consider them wizards, because they know how many times Farmer John’s red tractor wheel turned when he went west on a southbound road, while Train B left the station at 2pm going north. Yeah! I know! My friends are wicked smart!

So, while my friends are getting the answers lickity-split, I become self-conscious of the fact that I am still trying to determine why the color of Farmer John’s tractor is relevant. I don’t want my friends to think I am stupid. I mean, duh!

One of the worst oxymorons ever printed.

True story: Many years ago, I was out with three friends enjoying a dinner at the Silver Spoon Cafe. (I believe it is now The American Cafe.) We finished eating, and the waitress brought our separate checks. Typically, when it comes to figuring out the tip, I would rely on my friends to give me the amount I needed to leave. However, this evening, I was determined to figure out the tip on my own. I know! Crazy, eh?

I cradled my head in my hands, as I closed my eyes and did the math. I was determined to come up with my tip total all by myself. I was going to make my friends proud, by George! I could do it! Right? Right!

Apparently, my head was cradled for a prolonged period of time. Though I heard voices, I was doing my best to ignore the voices and focus on the figures. Turns out the voices were my friends trying to get my attention. I finally registered one of my friends asking, in a motherly tone, “Lenore, are you okay? What’s wrong?”

I looked up, and I found all three of my friends staring at me wide-eyed with concern. “Huh? Oh.” I said, as I snapped back into the real world. (The math world is crazy.)  “I was just trying to figure out the tip. I wanted to impress you guys.”

Immediately, my three friends laughed in hysterics, while I sat there heartbroken. I was so close in figuring out the tip. One more ‘carry the one’, and I would have had it! I informed my friends that the next time they saw my head cradled in my hands, I wanted them to leave me alone, [please].

Since then, the standard tip has gone from 15% to 20%. Though I’m still unable to calculate tip in an instant, I have reduced the time it takes to get the final figure. Moving the decimal and doubling the number is fairly easy, even for me. (Of course, by easy, I mean it takes me 5 minutes vs. 15 minutes.) God help me if the standard tip goes to something like 23%.

Wait. Did I just write an entire post about math? Ack. What will the critics say? By the way, have you seen the latest theme available through WordPress? Basic Maths. *Shudder*

.|.

Be Kind. Take care of yourself and each other;
and, keep your pocket calculator with you at all times!

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15 thoughts on “Write What You Know

  1. Math has always been my worst subject. All through school I would get a C in that class. Kept me off the honor roll most years! So therefore, I HATE math. hate hate hate it. LOL My son on the other hand is a math wiz. He loves numbers. He will do math on the weekends FOR FUN. (?) His teacher said he’s a couple grades ahead of where he should be–no clue where he gets it from!

    • I am glad I am not the only who hates math. My husband and the boys are good at math. My oldest will ask me problems. UGH. The picture in the post is a placemat my son uses during meals. I have a weird husband and weird kids. (Kidding) Thank you for visiting!

  2. As for tips, moving the decimal is the only way I know how to come up with it. I usually tip 15% though. So my brother told me to just move the decimal over for 10%, then just divide that amount in half and add it to the 10% and voila, 15%.

    • That is so funny! My friends have given me the same ‘tip’ over and over again. Still, I panic and I am like a deer in headlights. Worried more about how long it will take me to figure it out vs. those around me. Silliness.

  3. Val Erde

    Maybe you have dyscalculia? It’s a type of dyslexia that affects one’s ability to use numbers. I’ve got it, myself (though not as badly as some years ago).

    • This is the first I’ve heard of dyscaluclia. With all due respect, I laughed when I first read it. I assumed it was one of my siblings trying to be funny. I wonder if that was my problem. I never really gave math much of a chance. Though I really enjoyed geometry, and I did well in statistics, everything else just made me nervous. Plus, I was literally surrounded by math geniuses. The intimidation factor is never a good thing. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I learned something new!

  4. I can do math, but I don’t enjoy it. I can use spreadsheets & formulas all day long but doing simple math confounds me. Finally I created a spreadsheet with 3 columns – 10, 15 and 20% formulas to the right of $$ amounts. I made it super tiny and printed it out to keep in my wallet. Now I look like a darn genius when I am the one in charge of the tip 🙂 Cheers! MJ

  5. I used to be really good at math like I took Advanced Calculus and Analytical Geometry, and now I don’t know what any of those words mean. Everything requires a calculator even when I’m analyzing a triangle (Is that what analytical geometry is?).

    • Advanced Calculus? Analytical Geometry? As if those things even exist. Oh Speaker, you’re just making up words. Silly Girl. Next thing you’ll tell me, you actually saw a ROUS. (Rodents of Unusual Size; Princess Bride)

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