Friday, June 22, 2007

MATH is a Four-Letter Word

Being an English major - well, an English professor, I have a tendency to not want to work mathematical problems in my head. When the need arises (because math happens to the best of us) I usually do OK writing out the problem, working it slowly, double checking to make sure I haven't carried over the wrong number or taken away a number when I'm suppose to be adding a number, and then I just throw up my hands and hand the checkbook over to the banker and say "You get paid to do this!" - and I just let him work through my mess.

I have a couple of accounts. One I don't mess with. It's the REAL account as I call it. The other account is a little checking that I use strictly for Ebay purchases, online payments for books, and other things I simply can't live without and have to get on sale - otherwise I feel as if I'm paying full price, and the Scots in me just gets all riled up. I love, love, absolutely LOVE, and if you haven't gone - go! The 2nd account is the one that I mess with and mess up all the time. I can't seem to make it to the bank on time every time and it causes problems. It's not entirely my fault - I went to school to learn Humanities not Math. I do Math, but it's more like the way I speak Spanish - only when I have to, and only under stress as well as duress.

It would be great if during the 1960's someone thought to teach me Spanish, my educational path led me through my own native language, the history of it, the usage of it, the syntax, and the breakdown for every single type of clause plausible - but no one thought it good to teach me Spanish. I have tried. Oh, I try - and the students I teach who are natural Spanish speakers - they laugh at me. "Oh, Miss Stringfellow, you're so funny, so cute. Do you know what you just said?" I don't think I want to find out - I probably insulted their goat or something. Most of my kids had a pet goat - which of course they weren't allowed to have in city limits so they kept it inside - YOU do the math on that one. I laughed at them when they came to school and used the old excuse of their goat ate their homework. They weren't lying.

So my checkbook was out of whack because of the automated withdrawal from the gym that I no longer attend. My banker explained to me that putting money in my account from the other account would be best - so we set that up. Overdraft protection. God, I love my banker - he's so smart. I needed this in the 80's when I was young and stupid, now that I'm old and stupid, it's a great security blanket. $250 worth of screw ups....all covered. But I know I still won't be able to make it to the bank fast enough for it to count. Somewhere down the line someone will call me and say "You might want to raise that O.P. to about $300, maybe more, what do you think?" Or, here's a suggestion Jude, stop buying so much on Ebay! Oh, I shutter to think that! No, I can't do that. My post man would think I was mad at him personally. We see each other every day. Sometimes he stands around and waits for me to open the boxes and the packages to see what I got for nothing - plus shipping and handling.

English is good. I like English. Often (in these blogs, too) you'll question my use of the language. You'll say "Hey, she's an English professor, why would she say something like that?", but if you do - and you will - I'll just laugh at you and say something like "At least I left your goat out of it!"

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