Last week I sent Math a text message that said, “I’m breaking up with you.” Math told a mutual friend that our breakup “can’t last forever” and that I’ll soon learn I “can’t live without Math.” Math has quite an ego. It’s tough to be with someone who is so certain about everything all the time. When I told my mom I wasn’t with Math anymore, she said, “You should have left that bum a long time ago.” She said when she saw me and Math together, I never looked happy.

Comparing tipping apps, perhaps. Photo courtesy of Gregory Greenleaf

“It was hard to watch,” she said.

Math won’t stop texting me. Yesterday Math wrote me to say that since our breakup Math has taken 5 long walks, each averaging 7.2354 kilometers, covering an area of 24 square meters with a mean time of 4 hours and seven minutes and 2 seconds. During the walk Math can’t stop thinking about what “I could have done better.” I want to tell Math that Math won’t even catch a glimpse of me when I need to figure out how much to tip the waiter. There’s an app for that and I’m downloading it now. I’m also blocking Math’s number on my phone.

What led to the breakup, you ask? Math doesn’t appreciate how I solve Math’s problems. I know my answers are right, but Math always tells me I’m wrong.

Take this devious Math problem, for example: “If Jenny buys two cans of tennis balls for $12, how much does one bottle cost?” In math class we sometimes received questions where one of the answers could be “incalculable.” That has become my go-to option because I can think of many good reasons why I can’t arrive at an answer. The can of tennis balls question is obviously incalculable because maybe Jenny has a coupon or was shopping at Marden’s or Renys and there was a “buy one can and get the other can 50% off” sale. Or maybe Jenny was shopping on Black Friday and was able to buy one can and get the other free. Good for Jenny for finding such great deals! As you can see, as anyone should be able to see if they are smart enough, there are just too many variables left out to determine how much one bottle costs. The answer must be “incalculable.” Inexplicably, Math tells me the answer is 6 and I still don’t know why.

So to my children, my children’s children and anyone else’s children, I’m done with Math. Ad infinitum. Don’t ask me how to solve the perimeter of a trapezoid, the times trains arrive and depart, or the hypotenuse of a right triangle in a circle that is tangential to the inverse of an imaginary number because my answer, the correct answer, will always be “incalculable.”

Goodbye, Math. Please don’t try to find me or contact me through a recipe that requires conversion of grams into ounces. If you do, I’ll disappear. You can count on it.


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