Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dancing a Jig

Ariel is sick again. This time she has a fever and cold. But regardless, she took her Calculus 2 final. I guess it doesn’t matter if she’s too sick to see straight. It’s just math—all she has to do is type symbols into her do-everything-but-cook-dinner calculator and punch the equals button. Although there is a section on the exam that has to be done without a calculator, but I think even that section consists of writing weird equations full of Greek letters and not actual numbers.

Real numbers are the problem. Ariel nannied for a couple of weeks and her employer asked her how many hours she worked—the rumor is that she had to count them out-loud. Her employer (yeah, Chris, that’s you) apparently laughed and told her she ought to take the derivative instead. But it’s not funny! Do you know how many years I drilled this child in her math facts? And all for naught!

Even Calvin shakes his head and says, “Ariel, how will you ever manage your checkbook?” Of course, this has to be taken with the caveat that Calvin is obsessed with the perfect checkbook—he balances to the penny every month. (In fairness, Calvin has caught lots of bank errors over the years—probably totaling nearly $1000.) I am banished from checkbook maintenance. This happened early in our marriage—sometimes I added when I was supposed to subtract and vice versa. This did not make my husband happy—though I was never overdrawn. Of course, since I hate doing banking, this banishment was not altogether unpleasant. In fact, one could say that I might have danced a jig.


  1. Erm... "Punching everything into the calculator" is not all that you have to do on a Calculus 2 final. The calculator is awesome for multiplication and addition, and graphing. But, the calculator can't take antiderivatives (well, actually the TI-89 can take derivatives, but nobody lets you use that calculator on a test) nor can it set up the proper equation for an "applications to physics and engineering" problem.

    You know, I think I should start carrying my calculator with me at all times just in case I have to add or subtract something--or multiply or divide. BTW, 8x4=32 :P

  2. Here's an idea: When teaching Ariel to balance a checkbook, you could tell her to convert all the numbers into imaginary coordinates, rotate them 90 degrees, add them, and then convert them back into real numbers.

  3. So... What's the topic of this post? Mr. Keller? Ariel? Math? Or Jigs? Hmmm....

    Anyway, I would like to know where this mystical calculator of Ariel's can be obtained. Heh heh.

  4. I can't be overdrawn. I still have checks in my checkbook!

  5. Andrew, this mythical calculator can be obtained at Target for about $100.

  6. The mythical calculator can also be purchased at Wal-Mart, so long as you don't mind the color pink. We called to see if Wal-Mart carried the TI-84, and the salesman said they did, but that they currently only had them in stock in pink. We bought gray ones at Target.