It’s not often that I am exposed as a fraud, but in this case I am. I can’t deny it, it’s all true, I have few math skills. Oh, I can grocery shop and stay under my tiny budget. I can figure out the cost of lunch at McDonald’s, but aside from that, forget about it, it’s Greek to me.
How do I envision myself when I hear these words? Geometry? Neanderthal. Algebra? Loser. Isosceles Triangles? Flat-line brain scan. Don’t even think about asking me the mind boggling question about two trains leaving the same station in opposite directions. Even knowing the varying speeds of each and where they they will be in 6 hours only gives me the kind of brain cramp you get when you drink a Slurpee too fast.
I have asked myself why am I so bad at math? The reality is clear. I’m learning my math skills from Washington politicians. Don’t believe me? Read the newspapers daily on how our politicians continue to spend money we don’t have. The Government Accounting Office (GAO) published a report on how shoddy accounting practices are within the government.
Some recent “mistakes” in the past two years include:
The Pentagon spending $998,798 to ship two little 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and $293,451 to send one 89-cent little bolt washer from South Carolina to Florida.
Despite trillion-dollar deficits, last year’s 10,160 earmarks included $200,000 for a tattoo removal program in Mission Hills, California.
The Federal Communications Commission spent $350,000 to sponsor a NASCAR driver.
Washington spent $2.6 million training female Chinese vice workers to drink more responsibly on the job. No I’m not kidding here.
And finally, a GAO audit classified nearly half of all purchases on government credit cards were improper, fraudulent, or embezzled. In one extraordinary example, the Postal Service (which I might add is going broke) spent $13,500 on one dinner at a Ruth Chris Steakhouse.
As deficient as my math and accounting skills may be, I can at least hold my head up that my math skills are infinitely better than a congressman.
However, there is one math problem that still leaves me in a quandary. Despite the fact my wife is one third my size, she is always recognized as my better ‘half’. While that equation may or may not befuddle some, for me, I feel like I’m making progress. It’s the first fraction I have ever been able to get my arms around. 🙂