Testimony – August 2007

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Who Likes Maths!
by Araya Crosskill

I never liked high school.

For one, it turned me against Sundays – an otherwise likeable day that even inspired singer, Lionel Richie, to sing, “I’m easy like Sunday morning.”

I can only assume Richie never went to school as a kid, because Fridays were easy, Saturdays too, but nothing was easy about Sundays. Not for me, oh no, not when Mondays were around the corner and my homework wasn’t even close to be being done.

But most of all, high school turned me against math.

Math was cool if I wanted to figure out how much change I had coming to me after buying the latest copy of The Uncanny X Men, but anything else involving calculation was just unnecessary. Take for example the question below. It obviously came from some warped professorial mind intent on spoiling some kid’s “easy, breezy” Sunday:

Train A, traveling 70 miles per hour (mph), leaves Westford heading toward Eastford, 260 miles away. At the same time Train B, traveling 60 mph, leaves Eastford heading toward Westford. When do the two trains meet? How far from each city do they meet?

Huh? Like, who cares? I mean duh, call the train station dude. The number is 555-Get-a-Life.

I only truly started not retching at the thought of school when I choose to study the Arts. In Jamaica you choose a stream, either you were in the crazy people stream (the people who love Math), or you went in the opposite direction and clung to the Arts like your were a drowning man and the complete works of Shakespeare, a raft.

It was an easy decision anyway, what with my killer literary analysis.

Teacher: Araya, who was the hero of Moby Dick?
Me: The whale!
Teacher: Now Araya, how could the whale be the hero?
Me: Because whales don’t do math

Of course, studying literature put me on the trajectory of the starving artist. Everyone who found out that I eventually went to university to study literature assumed I would teach. They would hold my hand, look at me pitifully and would give me a “there, there now” pat on the back. I could only imagine their inner monologue:

“A life of poverty awaits you now, you poor bastard, please do not call me for a loan.”

In the end, I never found out how impoverished the life of a teacher could be. Shortly after leaving university I sold out and went corporate. Yeah, I could have probably made a living teaching the next prime minister of Jamaica, but I decided a life of taking the bus, and eating my meals from a tin can wasn’t the life for me.
And oh, how did I figure out that I couldn’t live on a teacher’s salary? Why, I did the math, of course.

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