First World Problems and That New Math

As homeschoolers, my wife and I have heard a lot about new ways of teaching math compared to the ways we were taught oh so many years ago. Reading over some examples induce rages in me to rival that of Bob Parr in The Incredibles 2 – at least what I’ve seen in the trailer as trailers comprise ninety-nine percent of my movie-going experience these days. But perhaps the following examples can be solved with this new math.

As I may have mentioned I currently work as a bakery manager for a small-to-mid-sized retailer. One of my last orders in June was for 108 cases of product. Upon examining the ordering program on our company intranet, I saw that in addition to my 108 cases I’d also be receiving 67 cases of distribution product. When the shipping manifest came with the deliver I saw that 10 cases were cut due to being out of stock at our warehouse. Of course that left me with…197 cases? Hmmm, must be that new math. Although not really a numbers problem, the lack of proper communication from the corporate office to the field, like in Bob Parr’s mind, just doesn’t add up.

Here’s another one that didn’t add up. The Sunday after the above delivery found me washing dishes after the family went to bed. This is a ritual of mine as washing the dishes has a strange calming effect on this horrible sleeper. Whatever helps, right? But the night in question was perplexing and perhaps contributed to that night’s lack of sleep. You see, I am married and have five children. New math, old math, either way that means there are seven of us living in the house right now. Even though a family of seven generates a fair amount of dishes to cleanse, that night I washed twenty, count ’em, TWENTY cups! Okay, two were removed from the fridge – one an old cup with lemonade gone a little sour and the other one of my 14-year-old’s smoothies which turned into a penicillin cultivation project – but that still leaves eighteen. Once again, something just doesn’t add up.

I was fully prepared to write that last week, but then our central air conditioning unit broke. As we were in the middle of a nasty heat wave and the wife is pregnant, we spent two nights in a hotel for some comfort. Yes, there are far worse fates than losing one’s air conditioning; it’s really a first world problem considering what others in harsher climates and poorer countries must deal with. So my writing was delayed.

But it was also added to. You see, most hotels have televisions, something which we don’t at our house. And Independence Day is also the day of Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, which was televised on ESPN2. My 14-year-old got to watch the tape-delayed presentation of Joey “Jaws” Chestnut earning his eleventh Mustard Belt by breaking his previous world record en route to consuming 74 hot dogs (and buns)! Think about that for a second, this is really a first world event. A man eats 74 hot dogs (and buns) in ten minutes in front of a crowd of 40,000 people which is later watched by who knows how many on national television. Meanwhile there is destitution and starvation in many parts of the world and hunger and starvation just down the street in any metro of this country. Hey, congrats to Joey and all the other competitors (yes, there are all sorts of “competitive eating” events) but once again, something just doesn’t add up.

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