Friday, May 8, 2009

Gnashing of Teeth

Ariel’s immune system seems to have finally vanquished the flu scourge, which is good because her brothers were discussing whether she was still under warranty and if she could be exchanged. Sadly, Ariel now has a Calculus 2 final to make up, and she can’t do it until the end of the month when her professor gets back from vacation.

Now if I were Ariel, I would be weeping and gnashing my teeth. I can’t imagine trying to keep a semester’s worth of calculus two “fresh.” But Ariel’s response was “Oh, well.” I suppose I can relate to it on some level. When I was in college I had to memorize fifty Shakespeare sonnets in order to be able to identify a given line, tell which sonnet it was from and then explain the line’s significance in the sonnet. To this day, I can still quotes bits and pieces of the sonnets.

But, sonnets have rhyme and meter. They have poetic plot and purpose (and alliteration and consonance). Math is just, well, numbers. Okay, there are some letters. But, they’re Greek letters and represent some kind of numerical hocus-pocus, which kind of defeats the whole point of adding in letters. For example, what is this supposed to mean?

I’m sure I don’t know. And I’m quite sure I don’t care. Unless Ar explains it to me, again—“Mom, this is so basic--beginner stuff. Let me show you how it works.” Then I pretend to care, for her sake. I hope she doesn’t read this and try to explain it again. Maybe I can beg off and say, “I have to cook for all the relatives.” That could work—she doesn’t know we’re doing burgers on the grill.


  1. This is quite the risky thing to be putting on a blog that Ariel usually reads. How can you say "I hope she doesn't read this?" Hmmm..

    Anyway, math is troublesome. All the way.

  2. Mom, all that means is the function of X is equal to A sub-zero plus the series beginning at one and going to infinity of A sub-n times the cosine of N times Pi times X over L plus B sub-n times sine of N times Pi times X over L.
    It's not that hard to understand

  3. It's ok. I've given up trying to explain. But please tell me you at least get the trig identity--there's no Calculus involved in that one. Um, actually, now that I look at it, I think the trig identity is incorrect. It should be:
    3sin(theta)=sin(theta)-2sin(theta)cos(theta). OK, now it's correct. :) Maybe you understand it now?!

  4. In response to Luke's comment, Yeah, that is easy! I must've learned that about two years ago! I can't believe mom doesn't get it.