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07 February 2008


I've heard British people call math "maths," which I suppose makes just as much sense as "math" if we're just abbreviating mathematics. I love math(s). I love it (them...ok F this) with all my heart. I've always felt comfortable in the company of a geometry proof. Cold rooms seem warmer when there's math to be done.

Once in a while Rob (he of the 7 minute piano outro) and I will have a few drinks and dig into a brain teaser, which is pretty much the perfect night. He likes math too. In fact, he's written some of the most beautiful poetry I've ever read (loosely) inspired by physics and math. I ask him sometimes to put it online and I hope eventually he will so that I can link you to it. If it doesn't move you, your heart is cold, black, and abnormally small.

Thing is, most people don't. I think it's a lot like golf. Golf is the most frustrating game in the world, but any golfer (especially a shitty one) will tell you that he was hooked the first time he hit a long, straight drive, or landed an approach shot 3 feet from the pin; he goes out and curses his way up and down the course time and time again chasing the ghost of that first high. I'll never forget the feeling I had the first time I impressed a teacher by navigating a really hard geometry problem. I don't think anyone that's never experienced a similar thrill should be allowed around children.

A lot of what I teach isn't math. The SAT isn't a math test as much as it is a reasoning test, and the fastest, most foolproof way to get a lot of those questions right is to sidestep the math altogether. There's plenty of fun to be had talking about that kind of stuff too, but I always look forward to the questions that can only be solved with some deep understanding of, say, the definition of absolute value.

It's not rocket science, but I really love geeking out about the way |f(x)| bounces off the X-axis wherever f(x) might cross it, and explaining why. I just think it's neat.

So, tonight was a good night. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go give myself that swirly I've been begging for.


  1. OMG...I always hated your kind! Would have traded the answers to a math test w/ you for a 30 page term paper any day! Besides, I think a wedgie is more appropriate!

  2. i wish i could even begin to comprehend the maths issue at hand. i failed pre-cal in high school, but ended with a D, only because i was a senior, and it was an elective. SIGH.....but i read other entries in your blog, and appreciate your humor and thinking process. Cheers! Katie in seattle.