Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Solve for X

    When you were a kid in elementary school, middle school, high school, whatever, you always had to take math class.  And, if you were like me, you were always wondering why.  "How am I going to use this trigonometry in my everyday life?  Why do I need to be able to figure out the sides of a right triangle?  What the hell?  Math is numbers, why do I have to solve for 'x'?  There is no 'x' in real life?"  That is the kind of stuff you would say.  Well, once you become an adult you realize that you use the math all the time, kind of unexpectely though, and you are glad you have it.  And you learn that there are lots of "x"'s in real life.  And I don't mean on your special videos or shows created by Simon Cowell.
     In fact, I found myself solving for 'x' just the other day.  Like, literally I was doing math equations on a scratch piece of paper with a pencil.  I did all sorts of operations until I had 'x' isolated on the left side, it was genius.  Not really.  Here is how it went down.  I was measuring paper, and like any good American I was using inches and feet (well, not feet, it wasn't that big) and was dividing the inches into halves, quarters, and eighths.  Well that is all well and good, except when I went to create a computer document that fit that size paper, the computer doesn't do quarters and halves and eights.  It does things in tenths of inches.  So I was faced with converting 9 3/8 inches into a decimal, and there is no app for that.  Well, I am sure there is an app for that but I don't have an iPhone so it wouldn't have helped me anyway.
     So I did the only thing that I know how to do, I set up a little equation like this:

3 = x
8   10

...and I solved for 'x' to find out that I should enter 9.375 into the computer.  Pretty slick, huh?
    I thought about my eighth grade algebra teacher, who was smoking hot, and who probably would have been proud that I had used some of the stuff she taught me in my regular life.  I did not think about my 12th grade calculus teacher who could write simultaneously with both hands in two different directions (forward and backward) on the chalkboard AT THE SAME TIME because I don't think I have ever used calculus in real life before.  But I digress.  I am sure that all my math teachers and my friends who are math teachers (I am looking in your direction here G-Funk) would be proud that I was able to use advanced math - although simple advanced math - to help get me through life.  I know I was pretty proud of myself.


Megan (Best of Fates) said...

I LOVE using school taught skills in real life - I just feel as though all that time was put to good use!

Big Dave said...

Megan, I love doing the same except I rarely am aware that I am using a skill I learned in school. I notice it a lot when I write in cursive (which is rare for me.)