Mathy

by Marinka on May 3, 2020

Today my son asked, “is there anyone here, obviously not you, mom, who is good at math?”

Immediately, I took offense because we are in the middle of a pandemic and I don’t have time to waste.

“What makes you say that I am not good at math?” I asked. Kids grow up so fast these days. First they’re little adorable babies and the next thing you know they’re whatever age that comes after seventeen.

“You seem to have trouble counting to three,” he said, referring to the time that I moved my backgammon piece four spaces even though the dice I threw had a one dot and the other one had two dots.


“That’s called strategy,” I explained.

“That’s called cheating,” someone else who is not instrumental to this story but will be punished piped in. 

“I am very careful with numbers,” I explained, refusing to give up on being offended and enraged. With Mother’s Day around the corner, I need to stock up on that stuff. 

“As a matter of fact,” I continued, because I knew that they didn’t have time to run to the court to get a restraing order against my musings, “when I was in the first grade, in Russia, the place of my birth and many Facebook bots, I devised a system of mathematical genius.”

Everyone at the table (oh, sorry,  I forgot to mention that this was all happening when we were sitting at the brunch table in our dining area. I guess when you’re a mathematician, like I am, sometimes the formulas swirl in your mind so much that you forget to set the scene. But we were at the table, so consider the scene set. And where the hell did you think we were, the movies? Storming the state capital? We’re not freak shows!) was silent. Probably in anticipation of the wisdom that was going to come their way.

“Ok, I’ll let you,” I said. And explained how when I was in first grade and learned math, I thought it was prudent to add a one to whatever the sum was. So, three and four? Sure, the answer is probably seven, but it wouldn’t hurt to make it 8 to make sure that we have all the bases covered.


“Did you do that too?” I asked my beloved quarantine buddies.

They all stared at me as though I suggested picking whose flesh we are going to eat once we run out of brisket.

“What are you crazy?” one of them asked.

“There’s no need to change the subject,” I answered. “A simple no would suffice.”

Some days the quarantine is harder than others. 

One year ago ...

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

alexandra May 4, 2020 at 8:25 am

No one in the world sounds like you. I remember the first time I clicked over and found you, laughing out loud in glee and gratitude, because here was an irreverent smart aleck woman who said things so delicious they sounded like whispered gossip. You are wonderful, and I love you.

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