Six by The Storyteller
April 17, 2017, Six
Numbers and I never got along. Today, I’m thinking dyslexia – my mother thought more study time. Image sitting with me in my sophomore algebra class. It is being taught by a crazy person. I know he is crazy because he think this stuff is easy. There is a problem on the board with a few numbers and way more letters than Campbell’s alphabet soup.
The crazy man looks at us and says “Obviously the answer is…” and then proceeds to write more numbers and letters on the board. Please realize, the only thing obvious to us is – this man is crazy. I passed that class with a grade that allowed me to stay in the top 60% of my class. This low spot in my relationship with numbers stayed with me for five years, until my college Physics class.
It is the first day and on the front board we see written the number “6” and “Tom Mordock”. The man standing at the front of the room starts by saying “On the board you see my name and the number “6”. These are the answers to the final exam. You will be required to show your work.” At that moment the answer to all life’s questions became my new friend - the number “6”.
When faced with tough life questions, I already have the answer – the number “6”. Problem solving for me then starts with the belief that since we already have an answer, there must be a way to get there. This thinking eliminates time wondering “IF” there is an answer, and focuses on discovering how to get there. Metal gymnastics – certainly. Multiple dead ends – of course. Results – yes, if I remember to “Show my work.”
Moral – A problem without an answer can’t be solved.