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A-Z April Challenge; X = Nightmares About Algebra

caution slippery sign

X + 2 = 5

X, even more than Y, brings back algebra angst—to the 10th power. In my sophomore year of high school my math teacher actually patted my hand and told me, “You’ll pass, don’t worry.” I was sobbing over pre-pre-algebra. The tears were not about failing the class. I was crying about not understanding and about him teaching me as if I already understood the secret fundamentals of math.

Fast forward to college. Still not a member of the secret society of math, I pulled up my big girl panties and gave it the old college try. This teacher was not willing to give me a passing grade and he had no idea how to speak the math-for-dummies language either. Math, especially algebra, brought out a lot of hidden anger in me. I was finally able to express that anger with some damn fine cussing. Not at the teacher. At least not to his face.

Later, I passed a basic algebra class (with a little help from my friends), but was still not given the secret codes to get me to the next level. Many years later, I had to go back and take, either college level algebra or probabilities and statistics. I took the p & s class. Somehow I achieved a “C,” that felt miraculously like an “A+.” It was the first “C” that I was ever proud of.

However, that p & s class really took the fun out of my lofty ideals of chance. When everything can be precisely predicted and calculated down to exact numbers…well, where’s the fun in that? I mean, if you look at the back at your lottery ticket and see that your chance of winning is 1 in 400 thousand trillions, why even get your hopes up and waste your dollar? I so wanted to waste that dollar, but p & s class prevented me. See what that class did to me?!

Of course, had I taken the college level algebra class, I don’t think I’d be sharing this nightmare with you…it would be difficult to type wearing a straight jacket.

Post script 

I give you, my faithful readers, one absolutely beautiful fact (the ONLY beautiful one) about algebra. The word “algebra” means “a reunion of broken parts.” Poetic, isn’t it? So, poetic, that I used it for the title of my book of poetry. I will let you know when I publish it.

Happy Equations,


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Hey, I hope you find time to check out some of the other A-Z April Challenge blogs here: