1050: Forgot Algebra
Title text: The only things you HAVE to know are how to make enough of a living to stay alive and how to get your taxes done. All the fun parts of life are optional.
Megan, standing with Hairy, is an ext student of Miss Lenhart and she taunts her old algebra teacher, because she hasn't used algebra since she left school. This is a reflection of a common gripe among students: that they have no need to learn math because they assume they'll never use it after they graduate. Randall's argument is that you have the option to use what you learned in school or not. Lots of people use math after they graduate, lots of people use their music lessons, and others don't use anything they learned in school at all. However, Randall doesn't understand why someone would be proud of their own ignorance, especially since people do brag about things like being able to cook and speak other languages, which are also technically non-essential.
However, Megan is also wrong in that she likely does use basic mathematical calculations in everyday life, even if they're not in orderly lists of parameters ending with "solve for x." For example, to turn one's apartment into a ball pit like in 150: Grownups, one must calculate or at least estimate (another skill learned in math class) the floor space of the room, the desired depth for the balls to cover, the space occupied by one crate of balls, and the cost of such a crate. While the operations are basic arithmetic, the ability to recognize unknowns and sort them into a meaningful statement comes from algebra.
The title text states that technically you don't "need" to do anything but survive and pay your taxes (although, ironically, doing one's taxes can require quite a bit of algebra), and implies that math is one of the optional and fun parts of life.
This is one of the two comics where Miss Lenhart is both drawn and named, the first being 499: Scantron.
- [Hairy is looking on as Megan takes her hands to her mouth and yells after Miss Lenhart who is walking away while looking back at her over her shoulder.]
- Megan: Hey, Miss Lenhart! I forgot everything about algebra the moment I graduated, and in 20 years no one has needed me to solve anything for x.
- Megan: I told you I'd never use it!
- Megan: In your face!
- [Caption below the panel:]
- It's weird how proud people are of not learning math when the same arguments apply to learning to play music, cook, or speak a foreign language.
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