August 24, 2009
CJ was doing his math homework tonight and started telling us how he was figuring out the problem he was working on. I had seen the first sheet he was working on and there were word problems that I could have solved if asked. You know, what is a 3-digit number multiplied by 11. They were trying to show that there is a trick to the solution without having to just multiply it out the long way. I get it, I could do it, no problem.
I was a math major at Xavier University, so I have taken a few math courses in my day. I am not surprised these days when 8th graders are doing Calculus as opposed to us doing it as Juniors in high school. We had to use those chisels and stone tablets I have mentioned before, and everything took longer. Plus, the textbooks were really heavy and we were walking to school up hills both ways in the snow, if you'll recall.
We are going to skip the paragraph during which Beth would be laughing hysterically thinking about how I was a math major in college, yet proceeded to give a waitress a $5 tip based on my abilities to figure out 15% of $20. I was really tired, if I recall correctly.
Anyway, since we have skipped that paragraph, CJ was telling us how he was trying, using graph paper, to illustrate how the word "Jack" became the word "Jackson" by using a different size box. Beth and I looked at each other as if CJ had just learned how to speak Latin. What he said sounded smart, yet totally useless all at the same time. Beth suddenly became very interested in her word jumble leaving me to say, "Why don't you show me what you are talking about". Well, he showed me and I saw what he did to make the "problem" become solved, but I can't help but wonder what the heck this is all about. Shouldn't he be learning how to figure out which train would get to New York first if one left the station at 6:00 pm and traveled at 65 miles per hour and was loaded down with new contestants on The Biggest Loser while a second train left the station at 6:30pm traveling 67 miles per hour with a car full of nuns on board?
I don't know, I always thought I would be able to help CJ with his homework should he ever get stuck, especially in math. Now I wonder if perhaps my life would have turned out better had I been taught in 7th grade how to turn the word "fossil" into the word "fuel". I don't know, that's all I could come up with. My other thought was "duh" into "doofus".
Until I come up with a better ending...