The Meaning of Life…A Story Problem

There are not words that can adequately express the hatred I have for mathematics. Growing up, during my formative school years, I would sit during timed examinations and only be able to concentrate on the minutes left on the clock, that would count down to yet another abysmal showing in Pre-Algebra (again) and no hope of ever joining the Mathletes Team in their quest for supremacy at the annual “State Finals For Decathamathletes“, in Des Moines every April. Now, I don’t know if this is an actual event, but I think I heard about an event that closely paralleled something of that nature, and for purposes of continuing this story, we’re going to “run with it“, okay? Thanks, you’re a peach!

But during these formative years, (I actually call them my formidable years) I learned probably the first life lesson, that would begin one of many, that eventually would shape who I am today. That lesson is two-fold (And I hate when things come with more than one fold. It tends to mean they’re “involved” and somewhat difficult to “make sense of” – kind of like what you’re reading. . .right now). But that lesson was: a) that I would very rarely live up to my potential in life and b) really didn’t have any business being in Pre-Algebra or anything that was so absurd. To combine both letters and numbers in some kind of taunting and archaic manner? – really, it’s like hieroglyphics!
So, if you’re wondering where I’m going with all of this, I guess I should clue you in now, huh? I’d like to talk about THE MEANING OF LIFE! In the time-honored tradition of such great philosophers as Plato and Aristotle. Scientists such as Darwin and Einstein. Religious figures such as Buddha and the Dalai Lama. and Entertainment Superstars Tom “the salted nutbar” Cruise and Sonny “look out for the tree” Bono, I will attempt to weigh in on this topic, because. . . “Hey, if Buddha (or any one of the many of them) can do it, why not ME?” (note: for anyone wanting me to throw Jesus into the mix? . . Sorry. . . I think I’ll leave it at that). Unfortunately, for a lot of us (but mainly for me) is the fact that this age old question can only be answered by completing ONE LONG STORY PROBLEM. Worse yet? The clock is running. . . and this is a timed examination!
So if Johnny is born into the world at point A and Sally is born into the world at Point B on the same day on opposite sides of the “world we all live in”, how do they get to point C? Is there a point C? What is point C? Or do they wander around the “world we all live in”, bumping into other parts of this equation and never producing a tangible answer? My hope is that we can all find a common denominator and can converge absolutely. Okay, any more math metaphors and I’ll spew! Sorry. But do you see what I mean? There are so many variables for all of us. (last one, promise)
A lot of people hate or hated story problems in Math Class (eck . . . Math), but you know something I’m figuring out as I get older? I can kind of wrap my head around the story part. And doesn’t everyone like a story? I mean a good story at least. If the story sucks, it’s just going to end up on Daytime Soap Operas, NBC’s fall line-up or for something put out by . . .what’s the name of the studio Kutcher is signed with? The whole thing is. . . it’s a story. With a beginning, middle and end. I hope that when the last page is turned in my story, at the very least, it was a good read. And sometimes it’s not always about the story that we write. Sometimes it’s whose story we buy or buy in to. I like to get mine on Amazon, but I enjoy writing them so much more.
What in the hell am I talking about? . . .A Problem. One we all face at one time or another. The answer to which a good chunk of mankind has been trying to figure out since we could teach Pre-Algebra to kids that wanted nothing more than to go outside and play with their friends or learn something that might actually be of some use to them in the future. Tell you what, that Pre-Algebra hasn’t helped me figure this one out. Not yet. Guess I can keep trying to plunk in new numbers and try different equations, but I DO think the answer: no matter how you arrive at it. . . is the same, for all of us.
So what is the answer to the question? I never said I was going to answer it, did I? Just said I was going to weigh in. But there’s one thing I do know about all those folks I said that were looking for the answer to it, at the beginning of this thing. With the exception of TWO, all of those guys are DEAD. Do you think the answer matters to them anymore? Chances are they KNOW NOW, huh? And as far as “The Salted Nutbar”, he’s still waiting on the pod people to beam him up to Omegatron X! The Dalai Lama, heck, I don’t know? He seems like a pretty laid back guy, I don’t think he’d have a problem with me! He’ll figure it out too, just like the rest of us. For now, I think I’ll keep writing and stop doing the math.
I hope you all remembered your number 2 pencils. . . You may begin your exams. . .Now!
Til Then. . . Go Figg’r!

Vote, tweet,e-mail and remember : “The Cause” (I still have a little math to do)
Peace Out – Later
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