Drama with the X

Want to know what isn’t funny? Alegebra homework. My son is taking (and struggling with) algebra this year, and I’ve been trying to help him with his homework. Al-gebra. It sounds like a terrorist network, and for good reason. Variables and constants are truly weapons of math destruction.

My son, who was good at math “before they had to go mixing the alphabet in it” keeps asking me why he has to learn this stuff. The only thing I can come up with is: “Algebra will be important to you later in life because there’s going to be a test six weeks from now.”

Although I was a good math student 30 years ago, it seems I’ve forgotten everything I ever learned about 8th grade algebra. Why, you ask? Well, because the role of algebra in my adult life, has been pretty much…um..nonexistent.

These days, after thirty years without algebra in my life, when I try to help solve for X, the only great ideas that come to mind are the things I’d rather be doing. Here is the list I thought of last week: stub my toe, get a paper cut, cheer for the Giants, hug a cactus, do my taxes, do someone else’s taxes, and pick up dog poop with my bare hands.

I mean, really. I’m happily married. I do not need, nor do I want, a relationship with “variables”. And yes, relationships are a lot like algebra: You look at your X, and you wonder Y….

Which leads me to my advice for Algebra: “Dear Algebra: Stop asking us to find your X. He’s never coming back and he doesn’t want to talk to you!”