Oct 23, 2008

YOU Do the Math

Above: Pokemon finally gets interesting.

While tutoring at the finest space travel supply company this week, I encountered a willful child; I encountered four thousand of them, actually, or at least that's what it felt like. The tutoring center has been jumping lately--standing room only--and I think they'll have to hire some muscle soon. A space bouncer to keep the unwanted riff-raff out; hopefully they'll let me back in. But being overwhelmed by selfless acts of goodwill is why people volunteer; we want to impress ourselves and others by how potentially GOOD we can be. That's why I volunteer; well, that and meeting hot guys. Because when I think 'soup kitchen', I immediately think of Johnny Depp. This also happens when I use words that are made up of letters, and also when I'm breathing.

I've talked extensively about Cameron before: he was the kid who compared me to a beautiful, scheming Orc Wizard and I was all RECOGNIZE, BIATCH. I felt like Cameron was the only first kid I really helped, and so I will always remember him fondly; I say 'remember him' because he doesn't come in on Tuesdays anymore. I'm pretty sure he bounced when I disappointed the crap out of him. In response to his hilarious AND TOTALLY LEGITIMATE question, "What is math even good for, even?" I gave him a canned answer that Sarah Palin would have been proud of:

"Math is good for EVERYTHING! See, it's like this: math is... gosh, it's--it's just! And WOW! And--grocery shopping is necessary, you'll need money, but that isn't exactly math--also for saving!--it's good, and it's a career. Americans, and everyone needs it, and I have definitely used it. I have used it just like all of us have used it. Math is also good for mathematicians! They couldn't have jobs without it! Also for counting money--that's important there--and architects use it to build houses, YOUR house was probably built with math--anyways, the economy, it's good for, and economics. Uh, it's amazing how many things math is good for!"

To which he should have responded: "Not to belabor the point, but just one specific example?"

For counting money. I said, OUT LOUD, 'counting money.' That's what Snotty thinks math is good for, and she doesn't even have any money to count. I wanted to apologize to his mother when she came to pick him up and be like, 'So when Cameron turns to a life of crime, BLAME ME.' He looked at me like I knew absolutely nothing, which is exactly how much I happen to know; I should have just told him the truth. If I had to do it all over again, I would, but this time my answer would be: "Asian people."

Speaking of which, there is an adorable little Asian girl I've tutored a few times, and I love her because she loves math--she even admits to it. She said to me last week, "There is only one thing I love more than math--wait, TWO things. Do you want to guess what they are?" I smiled at her, thinking, 'Does anyone want to play this game, EVER? DO YOUR HOMEWORK, TINY INFERIOR PERSON.' But what I said was: "SURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hmmm, let me seeeeeee... POKEMON and WHITE RICE. Am I warm?" Now before you're all SNOTTY IS A RACIST, let me explain: Snotty is a racist. But also: a very good guesser. She squealed like a little person squeals--"e!"--and said, "Oh my God, oh my Goddy-God! I was totally, like, going to say ANIME CHARACTERS and TERIYAKI, oh WOW. You are so smart! You are pretty! I like you!" This is how she talks: like you're the next best thing to Jesus. And because Pokemon is an anime character and teriyaki goes with rice, I'm like some kind of magical mind-reading genius from a shiny, far-off land where people are crowned as royalty based on the lukewarm strengths of their guesswork. Fine by me--I always wanted to use that as an employment application answer, anyway:

What was the reason behind leaving your last job? I was crowned Queen of my own country, and took a year off to travel the world. With Anthony Bourdain. And Bono, the King of Ireland.

This is the same little girl who said to me, "Are you a high school student?" And when I looked at her sternly--you don't make a comment like that to a woman who secretly resents her age and the aging process--I saw she wasn't pulling my leg. Which is right around the time I decided to adopt her. She's also the kid who sang a cheerful "Thank you, Your Highness!" last week, in response to me finding her scissors. Then she curtsied--CURTSIED--and hopped back to her table like a perfect little bunny. I truly believe--and I'm not just saying this! I really do mean it!--that everyone should address me in this way. I'm just saying: it wouldn't kill you.



FreNeTic said...

I get the attraction of pokemon, but I'm still waiting for the fatwa to get lifted...

Snotty McSnotterson said...

I'm amazed that you just wrote 'Pokemon' and 'fatwa' in the same sentence. You amaze me.

Manthony said...

I LOL'd at your Palinesque monologue about math. Like, for reals. And not just one sharp bark either, it went on for a while.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

Happy to oblige your stomach muscles. YOU'RE a lolcat.