Monday, February 21, 2011

Count to Ten

I'm not shy about sharing the areas in my life where I fall short. I'm good at some things, average at others.

And then there's math.

I don't have anything against numbers, personally, but they have always hated me. I have only cheated in one class in my entire life and it was Mr. Kolhaas' Trigonometry class. I'm not proud of it, but I am quite certain I could have studied my whole life and still not passed without the extra help. I felt a little less guilty about it since there was only one person in the whole class who actually understood it.

Which means, on multiple choice test days, Tom Becker would put his hand in the right hand corner of the desk for "a", left hand corner for "b", bottom right corner for "c" and so on. And it was understood that we would all get one or two wrong from time to time so it wasn't obvious. [Here's hoping they can't take away my diploma…]

In other words, the only year I had 4.0 for the semester was my senior year because I didn't have any required math left.

I suck at it. Seriously. If someone asked a random question trying to calculate something, I didn't even try. They'd look at me like I was going to agree or disagree if their 15% off calculation for that sweater was correct, so I'd look them dead in the eye and say, "I don't know. I'm not trying to figure it out. It's the indulgence of being an adult. I don't have to try."

So, when the Shan Clan was here and Nie Nie was lamenting about all the math they were doing because she had to make up work from when she was sick, I totally felt her pain. And I told her how smart and good she is for working so hard, because if she doesn't she could end up like me.

Math illiterate.

One afternoon, when I was doing my once-a-day trek to the kitchen to fulfill my physical therapy requirement, Nie came over with a rosary and asked why I have them in little dishes all around the condo.


I explained that it is my favorite way to pray for people, and that I used to be able to sit in all of those chairs around my house so I kept rosaries nearby in case I wanted to use one.

She wanted to understand how it worked so I told her about the prayers and the beads and the repetition of 10 Hail Mary's followed by a Glory Be and an Our Father… that each was a decade and each decade was repeated five times.

She looked at me and said, "Aunt Sara! You Catholics must actually be really good at math with all of that counting!"

Her mother grabbed the sink in order to not fall on the hard kitchen linoleum.

I had to break the news to her that us Catholics are actually really bad at counting considering we need all those beads just to keep track of counting to ten.


And then her mother went the rest of the way to the floor. Math may be evil, but laughter sure is fun.

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