I got the call today.
The call I’ve been dreading my whole life.
While doing her homework, my 8th grade daughter called from the kitchen, “Mawwwwwm! I need your help with this math problem.”
Guh…guh…guh. <—-That was me making that noise. Like my brain had been emptied by terror and no real words, only caveman noises, could come out. Chills swept up and down my spine. My scalp prickled and tightened to the point of pain. My bowels turned to water. I’m not even joking about this. My daughter is in Algebra 1 which is the most horrific x+y+z+WTF=hateful word problem b.s. I have ever been subjected to. SERENITY NOW!
So I go into the kitchen, walking all cocky and singing my Math Mom song. This is a fake-it-til-you-make-it strategy I learned from my tennis pro. Instead of staring across the court thinking, “S##T! I hope the ball doesn’t come to me!,” I’m instead supposed to picture that the ball IS coming to me; that I, in fact, WANT the ball; and that I have a definite plan for where I’m going to PUT the ball after I get it. My pro taught me that about tennis, I’ve translated the approach here for math purposes because trust me when I say, “Ooooh, I’d like to get my sweaty mitts on that Algebra and put it somewhere good, REAAAAAL good.”
The Math Mom song is all about how I love math; x+y+z is gonna go swell; Algebra rules. Yadda yadda yadda. Clearly my version of: the Algebra is mine. I want the algebra. And when I get it, I’m gonna put it where the sun don’t SHINE!
Then I ask Sissy to “bring it” and she replies, “The sum of three numbers is 123. The second number is 9 less than two times the first number. The third number is 6 more than three times the first number. Find the three numbers.”
Whaaaat? What the WHAAAAAT?!?? Oh, snap, nuh-UH!!!
So I shout, “What’s THAT!?” and I point out the back door into the trees.
While Sissy is looking outside, I put my head down on the kitchen table and pretend to go to sleep. I don’t ‘wake up’ even when she pushes my shoulder.
And that’s how I solve for x+y+z. It’s also how I funny algebra up a bit…because it definitely needs some funnying up.