**Algebra is the sloppy Judas-kiss that is planted on the mouth of every middle-school math student. You’ve learned the numbers… all of them. You can add them, multiply them, subtract them and, on rare occasions, you can even do long division. So, what is the response of educators? “Feeling smug knowing all the numbers? Well, we’ll just add ALL TWENTY-SIX LETTERS OF THE ALPHABET. You might know what two plus two is; but, God help you, you’ll be two years in trying to figure out what b + b is”. This is just plain mean.**

**In all fairness, though, educators try to encourage students by showing them how to apply this new knowledge. Because who hasn’t had a situation where your friend’s sister is two years older than twice your friend’s age when you were six? Or, even better…**

**Bob leaves Chicago traveling southwest at an average velocity of forty-five miles per hour. Jim leaves St. Louis traveling northeast at an average velocity of sixty miles per hour. Before leaving, Bob took a big handful of dog barbiturates that the vet prescribed for his dog’s seizures but Bob’s dog died before he could use the entire jar and who among us wants to waste perfectly good dog barbiturates? Long story short, Bob needs a ride home back to Chicago and Jim sure as HELL isn’t going to do it…**

**The above is what we call in mathematics a “word problem”… in that it is comprised of words and it is definitely a problem. Lugging an adult male who’s drugged like that is like dragging a dead horse up a freshly mown hill. Don’t ask me how I know that until the statute of limitations has expired. I’d let Bob fend for himself if he wasn’t my sister’s kid… but I digress… and then some!**

**Algebra lies to us. It pretends that we can explicitly solve any equation with unknowns; but, as you move into advanced mathematics, you learn that there is an infinite number of equations that cannot be solved; on the other hand, there is an infinite number of equations that can… it’s just that the previous infinite is a LOT more infinite than the second infinite. Are both “countably infinite”? If you have to ask, you probably already know…**

**In higher algebras, you learn how to prove that you cannot do things… like solve certain equations, trisect an angle with a protractor and compass and get to your nephew’s intervention because of work and all. So, rather than open up a whole new world like other mathematical branches, algebra restricts us more. In that regard, it makes us feel a little safer. We start to take algebra for granted and don’t pay it the attention that we used to. We stay out a little later each night, doing shots with harmonic equations and differential equations, while algebra waits patiently at home for us to come back and solve for HER unknowns. But, after her betrayal, can any of us really ever forgive?**

😀 I love algebra. She’s always been good to me. Calculus, on the other hand, is a slippery mistress.

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[Don’t tell anyone but I have a Master’s Degree in Mathematics. Shhhh]

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You would!

…[makes sense with how familiar you were to their wiles.]

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I hated algebra as a kid and this just made me hate it anymore so If A + B = my hate of algebra what does A + B / X – Y = Well Charles????

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Oddly enough A+B/X-Y is the average price of a cheeseburger in Brussels. Yes, it is directly related to how much you hate algebra…

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Or it’s the reason why I bought a llama lunchbox 🧐

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If I could find enough dry ice, I’d mail you a llama, Deb…

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Having been a maths teacher in my time (admittedly one who was barely qualified to do the job) I have oft been asked by students “when will I ever use algebra sir? (I may be imagining the ‘sir’ bit as I’m not sure any of my students ever showed me that much respect, nor should they have). My response would be to be pause and then sagely advise them that they would definitely need algebra to pass their maths exam. And that was genuinely all I could come up with…

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Well, if you go into engineering… as I ended up doing, you use it every single day. That and trigonometry. Now though, if you have what amounts to an algebra problem, there’s probably an app for that…

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To be fair, none of the students I was teaching had a hope of going in to engineering. Not least because I was their teacher…

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You coaxed an LOL out of me this early…

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I was really good at math until letters and geometry became involved in it, but if you ever need me to add, subtract, multiply, or even divide, then no problem.

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Back when I was in graduate school, I was getting ready to return a take-home test for my advanced algebra class. My wife looked at the ten page set of answers and told me that she couldn’t find a number in the entire test. It gets pretty abstract…

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People have a lot to say about this one! I have a math brain as well – I have NO IDEA why the heck I decided to go into counseling. And I don’t see math in my future unless I am helping the kids with their homework. I think “school bus driver” or “shelf stocker” may be on the horizon. (And that is quite a word problem up there – made me smile 🙂 )

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School bus drivers are so cool! I was the kid who sat up front and talked to them as they took us to school…

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I despised math in high school.

I despised high math in school.

Basically, I despised math unless I was high in school.

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If you mapped how much you despised math, you could take the derivative and determine that rate of change…

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Or I could shoot myself.

Tough choice…

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Kurt Vonnegut’s test response… He wrote an essay about depression and made up a math word problem. His D) was “I think I’ll kill myself”…

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…start with teaching how to balance a checkbook and how to make money multiply itself, then education gets relevant.

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I don’t know… Some of the richest accountants I know it turned out were terrible at arithmetic…

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Geez, glad I majored in theater.

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No one is EVER glad that they majored in theater…

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Oh, you’d be surprised. Acting, singing, dancing, design, construction, improvisation – it’s amazing how many of those things come in handy raising kids. (I was the “fun mom.” 😉 )

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Yeah… I used to punish my children by threatening to do an entire act from a Eugene Ionesco play. That would make them behave… if not: Eugene O’Neil!

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Yikes!!!

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I published a post on AL BOWLLY just before you published this post.on AL GEBRA. You could’ve at least given me credit for giving you the idea.

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Never! And, my list on bowls will also be a coincidence…

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List — I mean LIKE (clicking “Like” after comments still doesn’t like me — if it doesn’t start working soon, I’m going to report it to the proper authorities, if I can find any).

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It doesn’t work for me at the office, either…

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Algebra’s a fun friend to hang out with every so often–but I’m happy to be one of them dirty non-STEM folks.

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