√-1 Miss Math

Why hello, math.  It’s been so long that I barely recognize you anymore.  I think it’s been five years since the last time we saw each other… Remember, I was taking a sophomore elective, and you were using differential equations to kick my ass?  Those were fun times.

Looking back, we had some good years together.  You were the one who first taught me about PEMDAS and the world of acronyms involving My Dear Aunt Sally (multiplying, dividing, adding, subtracting).  You taught me how to draw parabolas and incorporate star plots into my notebook doodling.  And even though I never admitted it in high school, I secretly enjoyed all our inside jokes, like “√-1 ♥ Math,” “Don’t Drink & Derive,” and any reference to apple pi.

But since those good old days, we’ve gradually grown apart.  Once upon a time, I could have told you all about polynomials and orthogonal trajectories and monotonic sequences.  Now, I have no idea what any of those words mean.  All I have left is a pile of incomprehensible notes that reminds me how dumb I’ve gotten in the past five years.

And for all of this, I blame you, math.  You claimed to be a universal language.  You claimed to be useful. Well, since I’ve gotten out of school, no one has asked me about sines, cosines, or tangents. In the world I live in, “integral” is an adjective, not a noun, and saying “I have 5!” kids means you have five kids, not 120.  I don’t need to do long division by hand, I’ve never been asked for the quadratic formula, and I have yet to see anything shaped like a rhombus.

Today, I only encounter you through My Dear Aunt Sally (she’s like the math slut that’s easy and manages to get around).  We had something special once, but I’ve realized now that I don’t even know you anymore.  So this is it: my final goodbye.  And as for Aunt Sally, I may soon forget her too. I’m getting a brand new calculator this week.


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