We live in a different world than the one in which I grew up. I’m not complaining. I can’t remember a time that we didn’t have hot water and indoor plumbing. With those two amenities in place, I can make-do with almost everything else. I can cook outside on a grill, but the water hose doesn’t spray hot water unless it is a hundred degrees outside and you’ve just turned on the faucet. Even then, the hot water doesn’t stay hot very long.
The thing that most amazes me is the ready access available to retrieve information. Even little kids have the wherewithal to know how to do it. Last week when the General was at Craig’s, she opted to supervise Jake as he did his math homework. Jake is in the second grade. The math problem he struggled with was subtracting 109 from 200. The concept of borrowing a number from the column to the left was alien to him. Either than or subtracting from the “0” in the first column was confusing for him.
The General effortlessly explained the process to him and came up with the answer of “91”. Jake’s immediate response was, “I’m sorry Gram, but that’s not the right answer.” Bless his heart! He hasn’t yet learned the life lesson that never under any circumstances do you tell the General that she’s wrong. I can promise you that she’ll prove that she’s right and painstakingly invest the time and patience to ensure that you have an accurate and detailed understanding of how the “cow ate the cabbage”, so to speak.
Jake’s a smart kid. He didn’t have time for all of that. Once he had mistakenly determined for himself that the General wasn’t a mathematician, he opted to look elsewhere for answers. Despite the General’s insistence that he pay close attention while she explained the process of finding the answer one more time, he said: “That’s okay. I’ll get the answer somewhere else.” With that he hurriedly left the room. What I’d have given to see the look on the General’s face? Just the thought puts a smile on mine.
The General said Jake came back a moment or two later with a sheepish grin on his face. He said: “Gram, you are right. I checked with Siri and he also told me the answer was 91.” Go figure! How many 7-year-olds consult Siri for answers to their math homework?
Truthfully, I don’t remember struggling with math until I got to algebra. I can add, subtract, multiply and divide. What else do I really need know? Reportedly, “Elementary algebra is generally considered to be essential for any study of mathematics, science, or engineering, as well as such applications as medicine and economics”.
With that as a given, why was I required to take algebra in college? I knew long before that age that a career track in mathematics, science or engineering had absolutely no interest for me. So why did I need college algebra? For that matter, why did I need physics? Trust me, my GPA would have been higher had I foregone the trouble of adding math and science.
You don’t need any of that to be a stand-up comic, English major, social worker, or work in any other profession that pays almost nothing for the investment of your time. The way I see it, mathematics, science and engineering require left brain function and for the most part mine got left out. On the bright side, I’m generally in my right mind and I’m socially connected. What else do I really need?
I’m ten times as old as Jake and I’m just now learning the advantage of keeping Siri close at hand. When I’m traveling, sometimes all it takes is one word: “Restaurant”. Un seconds Siri thoughtfully provides me a list of restaurants in close proximity to my location. Sometimes I ask for a specific restaurant and he pleasantly reports back: “I’ve found______(name of restaurant). Shall I call them for you or do you want directions?” I always opt for the directions.
At the age of 7 or 70, I’d never have thought of asking Siri for the answer to more complex problems. Jake is way ahead of the game having Siri as a tutorial resource to find answers. Like I said, he’s a smart kid.
Out of curiosity, I thought I’d broaden my boundaries. Yesterday I asked Siri some tough questions. Why not explore different dimensions in which Siri could be helpful? Consequently I asked: “How can I win a disagreement with my wife?” I expected a thoughtful response similar to: “You can’t win a disagreement with your wife. She is smarter than you and very competitive. She’ll never let you win. Don’t even try.”
Surprisingly and somewhat disappointingly, Siri gave me resources instead of a verbal response. Siri sent me the following written message: “Here’s what I found on the web for “How do I win a disagreement with my wife?”
- A link to: “How to Resolve an Argument with Your Mate Every Time”
- A link to: “How to win every argument with your wife-Pathos”
- A link to: How to win every argument with your wife – All Pro Dad”
- A link to: “3 ways to win every disagreement in your marriage”
- A link to: “Learn how to win your wife back”
Okay, so what other puzzle could I pose for Siri to solve for me? I had an easy problem. I asked “What do most married couples fight about?” I expected “money” to be the answer. Instead, Siri provided the following response: “Hope these are the butter flavoring you want for your popcorn. That statement was followed by a listing of movies.” Obviously, Siri is one up on me. Thanks to Jake, now I know a handy resource to find out information on anything.
All My Best!