My “X” and I…Or Why Equations And I Don’t Get Along

(Read the whole thing. I promise, it’s worth it.)

Why, I ask, must you have equations? Isn’t it bad enough that there exist letters in a subject, which should only have numbers? I mean, a and b belong to the alphabet; they are numerals of the English Language, not of something that has plus and minus signs. I thought that would be common sense in itself. But no.

     First, you feel the need to scramble those two elements into a complicated mixture of symbols, numbers, and letters, and to top it off, you want to find a solution. Please tell me then: will an equation help you walk to the end of the hallway? Will it help you wash the car, water the plants, feed the cat, hug your mother, eat that suspicious looking piece of cheese hiding underneath your bed, look out a window, or have a conversation? No. I repeat myself: no.

     Well yes, there is always a deeper meaning. Mathematics makes up the world, and all that drama. It might explain a lot of mysteries, but it does not help me write this paper. Yes yes, math was used in the programs my laptop uses or the rate at which I type, or the frequency at which I spit out curse words when I think about equations, but that is a very indirect connection. This is why we have certain sectors of the economy dedicated to people who are good at numbers and that sort of thing. That doesn’t mean arithmetic should be forced down my throat.

     Let’s look at an example of an equation and try to understand just why you think it’s an important element in everyday life.

“x + 2 = 28”

 This clearly means you need to find “x.” I have an issue with this. WHY in all holy hell does anyone need to find “x?” Why is it lost in the first place? If it didn’t have the good sense to stay where its mother told it to, why should I bother to pick up a pencil and look for it? It’s like the problem of the child lost in the parking lot. If it had listened to its mother and stuck to her close, it wouldn’t be left behind when she went home from the supermarket. It would have been in the car with her and all his snotty siblings, going back to their shambles of a hut they call a house.

     Coming back to the point, I reiterate. If “x” was this irresponsible, I don’t need to look for it. I want to practice my arithmetic and algebra, not act as unpaid babysitter.

     Now, to find “x” one would have to follow a set of rules. One would move the “2” to the other side, inevitably making it a negative number, then subtracting it from “28” to arrive at the answer for “x.” Asides from my obvious question of why in hell, I have another concern. Who says, and I mean WHO is dictating these rules? If I want to move the number across the side without changing its sign, I should ruddy well be able to. These rules for equations, BODMAS etc., try to dictate our lives. This should not be the case. Freewill is a concept that has been thrown around since well, since the human race started. Furthermore, it is also one of the rights of a citizen in the USA. The First Amendment clearly states that all persons of a free and just country may have the right to free speech, free will, and free expression. What is math, to denounce the great country of America? The rules go against every rule free man has ever known.

     Were cavemen told how to hunt? No sir. Were soccer moms told how to suffocate their children with over displays of emotion and exaggeration? No indeed! These skills are learnt over time as any great concept is, as life is. Laying out rules as to why and how something should be done doesn’t resonate with my personal beliefs and as a student of an American institution, I believe I should be given the right to practice my faith in good conscience.

     Going back to the equation, the answer is clearly 26; “x” has been found. “x” was hiding in the equation all along. So my question is, why is this little sadistic bastard allowed to play these mind games? It poses a befuddling threat to unsuspecting human minds; why in the world do we allow it to take advantage of us like this? I for one, possessing much bravado and courage, do not allow anyone to take advantage of me in this way. I feel this is a good approach to life: if you let things affect you, you will fall. You will die on broken knees.

x2 + x – 4 = 0

 Let’s look at this one. Here, instead of having to look for one “x”, there have been given two. TWO inane lost children without the common sense to stop drooling on their thumbs and grab their mother’s coat tails instead. And now they have been left behind. And they are crying. And you need to look for them. Well, I don’t envy you your job at all.

     So this is an example of a quadratic equation. Hateful, filthy things. These are the bad dreams that keep you awake at night. This particular one doesn’t even factor and so is a more spiteful SOB. What you must do to locate the ever lost “x”, is to apply the quadratic formula. Now again, why you would do that will forever remain a mystery to me.

     Solving this and finding “x” is one thing. But when you want to create a graph out of this…well we have a problem. I have given you a full background on the worthlessness of equations in general. Now I will tell you why it is also fruitless to turn them into lines.

     What is a graph? Basically bunches of criss cross lines drawn across a page of pretty squared paper. Why would you want to complicate that by putting equations into it? Its one thing if you needed a graph urgently because let’s say, your grandmother was having a seizure and you needed to know the exact amount of time an average phone user takes to place a panicked phone call based on general data collected in a survey by hospitals. Will you at any point ever need that information? I don’t think so.

     Equations in graphs aren’t required for any useful purpose other than to make my life hell. You say you need them for vital things such as forecasting the weather, or checking the federal deficit, or predicting a slump in the business cycle, but do you really? Humans have been living on this earth since time started, and they managed not to wipe out the race. Everyone knows nuclear weapons will be the death of us, not badly forecasted weather. So why even bother?

     I haven’t talked about the sheer stupidity mathematicians do when they bring in more than one variable into an equation: let’s say “x” and “y.” So if the child was inept enough to get lost with a friend who has no way of contacting its mother, well then. What is the world coming to?

     I see no reason for drawing up equations, or integrals, or square roots, or graphs, or strawberry milk. All these things I can live without, and thrive, even.

     There should have been a graph to show how disgusted I am by the concept of math and equations. The more math I see, the worse my day. At least we have a direct, honest, relationship.

*This post was written purely for comic relief. It depicts my difficult relationship with Mathematics. No seriousness intended.

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