If you know me, you know my feelings about math.

Addition. Subtraction. Multiplication. Division. We get along. Well, we do okay. I’m not working multiplication problems for fun or dreaming about long division. We tolerate, and maybe even respect each other.

Get beyond that, and my blood pressure begins to rise. Algebra? I start to feel physically ill. Geometry? Instant migraine. Calculus or Trigonometry or any complex problem that looks more like hieroglyphics than a math problem? I’d rather light myself on fire than have to try to figure that out. Sorry, my English major writer brain just doesn’t work that way. Give me a 20-page paper to write or a sentence to diagram and you’ll hear zero complaints. Give me a math problem to solve and I’m going to call you a filthy name and start to question our friendship.

Luckily, I’ve spent the last 20 years not having to use much of that math they kept trying to tell me I needed to take in high school. My Guidance Counselor, Mr. Larson, lectured me daily to take more than the minimum two years of math required for graduation. He said I would need it to be admitted to college, and I told him that I was planning to major in English and Creative Writing and any college that wouldn’t admit me without having a third year of math was a college I probably didn’t want to go to anyway.

In college, I found out I had to take two math classes. Of course I put them off until my senior year. I begrudgingly took College Algebra and managed to earn a B (because Professor Allport was the first person to actually explain Algebra in a way I could understand). When Spring registration rolled around, I set up a meeting with the Provost, David Jacobson, and presented him with a detailed argument on why the final math requirement should be waived because it was useless information for my future and a blatant waste of money and credit hours. He told me that while this was the best argument he’d ever heard, he couldn’t just change the requirements for me. Then he jotted down the name of a class (Math for the Liberal Arts) on a sheet of paper and slid it across the desk to me, telling me to add it to my schedule for the Spring and I’d be fine.

I walked out with a B+ and I was fine.

And for the last 20 years, math and I have kept a respectful and mutually-agreed upon distance from one another, occasionally crossing paths when I need to do some budgeting or or help Cadence with a homework problem, or when Henry decides he wants to play the Math Bingo game on the iPad. And all those teachers who said I was going to use Algebra and Geometry every day? Liars.

And then today happened, and some sadist at HelloFresh decided to throw in some bullshit fractions into tonight’s recipe just to make me squirm.

I mean, if you’re going to tell me to use 1/3 of the cheese, can’t you just put it in one package, or divide it into three packages? You’re supposed to be simplifying my dinner prep you jerks, not making my brain bleed.

So, I improvised and just used however the hell much cheese I wanted, and you know what? It still tasted delicious.

And now I’m ready for another 20 years maintaining a respectable distance from anything beyond long division. Thanks math, it’s been fun. Don’t call me; I’ll call you.


  1. Oh man, can I relate. I would have just dumped all the cheese in for sure! Higher math has been my lifetime nemesis. Let me write a 20 page paper every day of the week, but one sheet of algebra or geometry problems and my brain comes unglued. I had to take beginning geometry twice in high school and failed it both times.

    I honestly think there’s some kind of “math dyslexia” or something. No matter how many times someone explains an algebra/geometry equation to me, it still just does not compute. It all looks like Russian to me.

    I love the idea of this math class for liberal arts students!!

    1. Same!! I only passed my HS math classes because I played drums and during band every day I had the guys on the drum line helping me with my homework in exchange for my help proofreading their English papers

      And Math for the Liberal Arts wasn’t a joyride (3-hour night class with a prof whose monotone voice could lull you to sleep if you weren’t adequately caffeinated), but it was math I could understand. Basically elaborate word problems, like “You own a garbage company and here is a map of your city. You have two trucks collecting garbage today, map a route that allows your drivers to collect the garbage quickly without overlapping routes.”

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