Algebra as an Adult

One of my evening’s pleasures is doing Algebra with my daughter. A lot of people don’t know this but I was a Math major before I chose English & Writing. I got up into the rafters of Calculus II before dropping down into the rumpus room of Shakespeare and Hemingway and the sub-floor basement of Kafka, Robeson, and Morrison.

It’s great to be cerebral, to make those brain synapses do some jumping jacks and burpees.

And all those old formulas? They still hold up! Math is good for that: not changing, always right where you left it. The Pythagorean Theorem, the Quadratic Equation, good ol’ Pi equals 3.14159 every time – It’s not up for negotiation. There are no interpreters.

As for the life of a counselor and a dreamer, the “maybe’s and the what-if’s and the could-be’s will always be pregnant with possibilities, which is why I keep them around, but there’s something about crunching through black and white numbers after a day full of grey areas…

One thing leads to the next and the next and it never changes. And it never throws a curve ball at you. Math, like a reliable great uncle who tells you the same stories with the airy laugh at the end. Math, like a gleaming diamond, whether you understand it or not, it does what it’s supposed to do.

It could be Math, or it could be Gardening or Sodoku or Legos. There’s comfort in rules and routine.

Sometimes you just need to know what comes next.

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