Those Who Can't Do
When CD's came out people forgot how to use record players. When Al Gore gave us the internet, he unwittingly damned the bound encyclopedia industry. After Jesus came, people forgot how to properly burn a turtle-dove (or is it two turtle-doves?) over stone. With the calculator, we no longer needed to deal with those pesky mathematical details.
I was smart enough in high-school to be stupid and take neither a fourth year of math nor a fourth year of science. Being interested in only that which pertained to art, I then forgot what I had learned in those subjects the three years I did take them. With a blank mind I was free to absorb more art facts; I was free to retain more self-taught philosophy; I was free to bomb my math placement test when I finally returned to college. I placed into math 103, "Intermediate Algebra." This bored me; so, I walked right up to the dean of the mathematics department and said, "Dean of the mathematics department, I do not want to take these silly classes. My mom tells me I'm a smart boy. Please wave all prerequisites such as, but not limited to, college algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Thank you for your time."
Tomorrow I have an interview for a math tutoring position. If I am given this job I will tutor kids from k-12 in mathematics . The question occurs to me, "do I know any mathematics on the k-12 level?" Unless 2nd graders have a habit of struggling with integrating functions involving the inverse tangent, I believe the answer is no. No, I do not remember polynomial long division (or regular long division for that matter), how to complete the square (OK, so I can probably do that if I squint enough), or how to properly use one of those factorials (the "!," if you forget).
I will now have to spend my night cramming all the math in my brain that I once tried so hard to forget. I think my interviewer mentioned something about a quiz. I sure hope, but very much doubt, that there is a definite integral on it -- otherwise I might just embarrass myself.
Wait a minute . . . I think I'm starting to get it!