Dear Mr Matheson,
I’m sure you don’t remember me, I was in your algebra class back in the late 80’s. I would describe myself as that weird, shy, socially awkward kid but that would describe most of us. Algebra always confused me, i was terrible at it. I went to you one day after class because I was not understanding something you had taught that day. It was early on in the school year and the concepts were fairly new. You told me that if I had been paying attention I would have understood what you were talking about.
Thing is, I was paying attention. You made it my fault, it couldn’t possibly be that you were too old and set in your ways to actually know that some people would be confused by your cryptic descriptions. You were too grumpy to see that sometimes these things aren’t obvious to kids. You were way too much of a fuck to help someone who came to you and asked for help even though it was your job. You get paid to teach, you do not get paid to funnel the contents of your brain onto a chalkboard and the fact that you don’t know the difference between the two means you are not teaching.
You made me cry in frustration that day and I gave up. I believed you. I believed it was my fault for not understanding. You looked at me like I was a fuck up who didn’t care and instead of me realizing how wrong your logic was, fuck ups don’t stay after class and ask for help, I believed you.
And I failed algebra. I ended up taking “everyday math” since I would never be smart enough to learn algebra.
Then this weekend I was crocheting a sweater but I had to make it bigger than the pattern called for. I sat down with the calculator and I determined certain values and made the appropriate multiplications and divisions where necessary. I was able to plug those values into other equations and get stitch counts and row numbers. The thing is, it worked perfectly. Last night, when I pieced the sweater together, every fucking part of it lined up perfectly. All of the seams just laid there begging to be sewn together. When I tried it on, it totally fit. I increased the width of the sweater, shortened the body, did my decreases and raglan caps and armholes based on the figures I had calculated. And it worked.
And technically, it was the algebra. I figured it out. It wasn’t that I was a fuck up or that I wasn’t paying attention, it was that you were too damned lazy to take the time to teach me and now, 19 years later, i taught myself. I think you owe me part of your salary.
But you probably already spent it on cheap Farah slacks and cotton poly blend short sleeve shirts.
Dear Mr Matheson,