calculus, anyone? what? did i say something wrong?

I think when there is another World War, it won't be an uprising of the poor, or over religion, or politics or oil or land or real estate on the moon.

It'll be between the Maths and the Mathnots.

These two sects of humankind, try as they might, just don't understand each other. One understands the intricacies of numerical values, the other understands the intricacies of everything else. Arguments between these two peoples are rampant and largely unresolved, because math inevitably gets thrown up as an unbroachable wall. They go something like this:

Math--Your damn dog chewed up my shoe.
Mathnot-- Awww. But she's so cute. You like her, too. Admit it.
Math--Do not.
Mathnot--Do, too. I hear you baby-talking to her all the time.
Math--Hmph. That dog has cost us $437.87 in chewed up shoes, pillows, dog beds, barbies, and chair legs.

See what I mean? Wu-up! Wu-up! Do not attempt to climb the Mathematical Wall or you will be beaten senseless with calculus and the square root of three.

I suspect that those people shaking fists behind steering wheels are mostly Maths. Why? Because Maths have had empathy beat from them by vast amounts of practice at numerical reasoning. All they can think is, "You fucker. It's a 45 mph zone, which actually means 53, and you're going 42-no, 43, no, 41--argh!!!"

No thought crosses their number-riddled brains about what the other driver might be going through. Maybe they're sad because they just got word that their cat died. Maybe that phone call is actually important--like it's their mother or something. Ok, I jest. They're not talking to their mother, they're bitching to their friend about their mother.

Or... maybe they're drunk. Huh? Huh? Did you ever think of that?? NO, of course not, cuz Mathies can't think outside their own little ones and zeros.

My favorite sort of argument with a Mathie resolves around the budget.

Math--You spent $256.89 on freakin' JEANS????!
Mathnot--Yeah. Doesn't my ass look fine in 'em?
Math--Jjjeans? Denim. Jeans. I don't get it. $256.89? On jeans.
Mathnot--You think I'm fat.
Math-not--You didn't say you liked my ass. You think I'm fat.
Math--That's because your ass is not improved one iota by those $256.89 jeans
Mathnot--You don't care about my feelings at all. (sob) All you care about is money!
Math--of course I care about--
Mathnot--No you don't! You don't care that I'm nearing, well, a certain vulnerable age, and that I'm, well, feeling vulnerable about my looks. You never tell me I look good! You never tell me--(torrent of sobs prevent continued speech)
Math--I thought I was just talking about the bills.

*We'll break in here to demonstrate how to win the argument because this one, my friends, can go on indefinitely. The inexperienced Mathnot's instinct will be to go with the old "You can't put a price on my self-confidence!" argument.

But the Math will just say something like, "Apparently I can. Apparently it costs $256.89. That is, this month.

So, there are two ways to go with this one:

1. Supply a veritable shitstorm of emotion that drowns the money issue in past resentment, insecurity, and tears. Note: requires a lot of time and make-up sex.

2. I prefer to play a quick version of the "When in Rome" Game. This is a no-brainer, but you've got to be prepared ahead of time. That means you must look at the checkbook register once in a while. Next, wait for the Math to be desperate enough to say that they're trying to understand, but just can't. Then, and this is crucial, stop crying. You must be clear-headed and soft-spoken to execute this effectively. Once everyone has calmed down, you say, softly so that the Math must strain to hear:

"Oh, I thought of a way to help you understand how I feel. It's kind of like that time you spent $3000 on new rims and tires. In fact, it's pretty much, 100% just like that."

As for the next World War, no doubt the Maths will win. They're the ones in control of all the bombs and Internet and the Republican Party.

But, even when the score is a billion to zero, winning doesn't make you right.

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