Friday, May 9, 2008
Math Ain't Us
Did any of you like math story problems as kids? I did, but not for the right reasons. I couldn't solve the problems at all (math is not my forte), but I was completely sucked into the story end of it. It's the same way with me now. Yesterday someone forwarded Ilse (a co-worker - and yes, I work with Ilse and Olga. My name should be Inge or Heidi - Karen somehow doesn't fit)BACK TO MY STORY: someone forwarded Ilse a story problem that went like this: There are 7 girls on a bus. Each girl has 7 backpacks. Each backpack has 7 big cats, and each big cat has seven kittens. How many legs are on the bus?
WELL - Ilse, Olga, and Karen went to work on this problem (it being a slow day at Medtronic),and we worked and ciphered for about 1/2 an hour before we finally got the correct answer. And the entire time I was sweating over my complex formulas, I couldn't help but fall into my old grade school habits: where was this bus going, and why did each girl have SEVEN backpacks? And wouldn't those backpacks have to be rather large to accommodate all of those cats? What would happen to all of the cats squashed into those backpacks? Who would feed them all, and how did those girls get them into the backpacks in the first place? Where was the bus driver? You can see how my mind goes, and it's never in a mathematical direction.
After we were exhausted from our labors, I e-mailed the problem to my recent college grad, Scott, who solved it in about 2 minutes... I hate when that happens. Not only did he solve it, but he held more than one figure in his head until he solved other equations! Amazing. When I try to do that, the numbers start dancing around in my head until 769 turns into 7,960, and then I get some annoying song stuck in my head. My brain should not attempt math - it's always been so, and i'ts probably written somewhere. Algebra is like Chinese to me.
I do like to read, however. Scott the Math Genius gave me 3 books to read: The Alchemist (just finished it - good read!), Into the Wild, and The Kite Runner. I'll let you know how I like them. Another that I've read (and I wildly recommend it to my sister readers) is "Eat, Pray, Love", by Elizabeth Gilbert. Seriously, you will love it. It's one of those "You'll laugh, you'll cry..." kind of books. I'm trying to spend more time doing things like reading, getting back to painting, etc., rather than laying back watching "Dancing With the Stars" every night. I feel smarter already.
By the way - I finally got another comment from someone other than my children: my friend Marion! I am so excited, and hope that others of you will soon read, comment, make blogs of your own, and we can have a whole network! I'm going to work on mine this weekend, so look for some changes come the first of the week, including (hopefully) some links to other blogs and/or sites you might enjoy. Keep reading, keep leaving comments - this is going to be good!