Last night I dreamt that one of Kim’s friends called me up to say that the whole math class was mad at me for holding them back.
“What math class?” I asked, feeling guilty and curious as to how I managed to get into Barnard.
“You know which class I’m talking about,” she said.
As I felt that familiar pulsating fear of math failure instantly spewing its hot, inky venom throughout my veins, I could feel my whole head shriveling in shame, as if the skin on my skull was crawling its way down my neck. How could God be doing this to me again?
“Big deal,” I said.
“Well, I just thought you’d want to know that everyone thinks you should drop the class.”
“I don’t even want to be in that class,” I said, racking my brain for clues as to what sort of math I was failing this time.
“Good,” she said.
“I’ll just drop the class tomorrow and then all of you can stop being mad at me.”
And then it occurred to me, as I slowly gained wakeful consciousness, that I was not, in fact, really in math hell after all, and that, more importantly, I will never take another math class for the rest of my life. Never. Ever. Ever. It also dawned on me what a complete and total waste of time school was for people like me, people who function beautifully without any sort of learned pattern of reasoning skills, mathematical or otherwise.
I mean let’s be honest, math? The only thing I ever needed to learn was how to add, and my mother taught me that. I don’t even use subtraction. And aside from the Citgo sign in Kenmore Square, there aren’t even any triangles.
History was also particularly daunting for me as I have no sense of time or direction and I’m terrible with names. The only thing I came away with was that my ancestors were Pilgrims, only to realize much too late to save myself from severe embarrassment, that we were Jews, and therefore, not Pilgrims.
As far as science goes, I would have been better off if they just dropped me in a ditch and said, “Figure out why you’re here and how to get out. Hint: God won’t help.” Everyone knows biology and physics are for geniuses. That’s the whole reason people like me make fun of science. We don’t need it.
If I had my own school, here are the courses I would offer:
First Period: Reading & perhaps some light Addition
Second Period: Hair Removal
Third Period: Manners
Fourth Period: Lunch
Fifth Period: Spouse Retention & Child Rearing
Sixth Period: On the job training of your choice.
Seventh Period: Pet care
What do we really need to know to be successful? A)How to read, certainly, but mostly how to do one thing very, very well (first and sixth periods) and B) How not to offend people (second, third and fifth period). That’s it.
My own school would have saved me from years and years of feeling like a failure, all because I couldn’t grasp the fact that numbers weren’t tiny, little people in costumes. I still don’t really know what they are or what they’re there for. If they were created to express or represent something else, like say, energy, movement, distance or equality, why not just demonstrate those things with hand puppets?
For example, instead of two years of Algebra, you could just hold up two dolls, one with a head and one without, and then rip the head off of the doll with a head and say, “See? Before they weren’t the same. But now they are.”
But no, instead we’re forced to live in a world where we have to sit trapped in a room for five days a week, with a bunch of other morons and try to guess what that manipulative little x is posing as this time, with its tiny hand on its hip and its legs crossed like a little bitch, for no reason. A world where people like me, who know absolutely everything about hair removal, hold the rest of the class back.