March 2017 . . . .

“A response to my daughter, when asked the age-old ‘why do I need to know this?’ ”

(With Deepest Apologies to Meredith Wilson)

Math for the income tax, math for the purchase price,

math for the road map, math for the meal’s tip.

Math for the miles per hour.

Math for the adding and subtracting and the total,

Math for the cook book, a cake baking recipe. Math for the teaspoons and the gallons and the tablespoons.

Hey, what did you get? Whatdidjaget, whatdidjaget, whatdidjaget, whatdidjaget?

*What was your answer?*

Whatdidjaget?

You can add up a column, you can figure, you can add. You can figger, figger, figger,

you can add all you want.

But the difference is the words that they use in the classroom now

No it aint, no it aint! You just gotta have a glossary!

Tick tick tick tick tick you’re running out of time.

It was those damned ancient Greeks who first got us all to thinkin’ ’bout it,

started all the trouble back six five four three a couple thousand years ago.

The man was named Pythagoras, and the problem is his theorem,

You don’t have to understand, you just gotta *memorize* it

Math taught by Euclid, Cones by Eudoxus,

Numbers thought a lot about by ari-ari-Aristotle.

Back when there wasn’t even measurement for demijohns

And they sat around and thought a lot of side, side, angle, sides.

Multiplying fractions, what is the denominator?

Rectangle, pentagon, three-point-one-four-one-five-nine-two-six-five . . .

You’re running out of time, tick tick tick tick!!!

Can you solve for *x* when *x* equals a coefficient?

there’s absolutely no efficient way to solve for *x*.

Can I please use a calculator?

(Gone gone, gone are the teachers with the white chalk.

Gone are the days with the pencils and the slide rules.

Gone the bottle-bottom glasses sliding down their greasy noses.

Pocket-protectors, full of protractors.

Short-sleeved white shirts stained in the underarms.)

Whatdidjaget, whatdidjaget whatdidjaget for number forty-seven

*What was your answer?*

I dunno, I dunno, I dunno, I dunno. What’s the square root?

A locomotive going forty-seven down an incline

Meets another train leaving Iowa on Saturday

How many passengers will have to get a hotel

And buy another ticket if they want to get home?

Please work the problem out to seven decimal places! Seven? Seven! Seven? Seven!

Show your work, show your work, show your work, show your work. Show your work.

But I have to use the lavatory!!!