Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Some are good at running, some have beautiful voices. A few excel at the piano or the violin. Others are computer whizzes. You get the idea. And for every talent there is usually an equal and opposite failing. Your’s truly, for example, has been blessed with the ability to read very fast and keep herself organized. Unfortunately, however, I am lacking severely in a little thing called math skillz.
I tell people that a lot. It usually gets some laughs. But people are generally, I think, bad a math. We had poor math teachers (as my dad always liked to say, people who are good at math make bad math teachers) or are just generally underdeveloped in the mathmatical arena. Whatever the case, most people laugh it off when I say I’m bad at math, probably because they meet a lot of folks who say the same thing.
I’m here to tell you: I am genuinely terrible at math and I have an example to prove it.
Today I went to buy a book, in cash, from an stand that was selling this particular book for $15. I handed the girl $20, but she couldn’t find a five dollar bill to give me change. She looked and looked, and then suggested we go get $5 from her boss, who was sure to have the change. Alas, no dice.
I had three dollar bills in my wallet. Aha! I suggested that I give the girl my three dollars, in exchange for the $10 bill she had behind the stand. “Are you sure,” she asked me? I assured her I didn’t mind losing the $2. No big deal.
About an hour later, thinking about how clever I had been, I realized (of course you’ve already figured this out if you’re not a math idiot) that instead of losing $2 myself, I had shorted her $2! Because $20 + $3 = $23. And $23-$10 = $13. Why I had initially believed that I was paying $17, I have no idea.
All I can tell you is that my mind really does work that way when it comes to arithmetic. It’s uncanny.