I haven’t done math in quite some time. Apparently, neither have any of my other journalism friends, as was evident today when we took our final exam in Copy Editing and Design.
It started out well. Grammar? Done! Spelling? Please – I spell in my sleep. Sentence structure? I will structure you a sentence the likes of which you never done seen before, just hand me that pencil. Being as cocky as I was, it was probably no surprise that the MATH hit me out of nowhere. Yes, it’s true – MATH (in all caps AND bolded, because it’s just that scary) on a journalism exam. Oh, the humanity! Except for my professor – she doesn’t have any.
Luckily though, I wasn’t alone. As a group, we were whipping right along correcting those sentences, tossing gerunds and false posessives to the side in the middle of the linguistic carnage. But after this, the deluge- MATH.
You could see the devastation hit immediately. One by one, like rainfall, the pencils began to hit the desks as everyone arrived at question #35: percentages. People began looking around, afraid for their lives, eyes wide in the presence of numbers and symbols. We looked at each other, mouthing a silent scream that would do Edward Munch proud: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THIS!!!!!!!!! OH GOD WHY???”
Well, after all that carrying on, there was little to do but carry on, in spite of the tragedy. I tried everything I knew how to do. Pie charts, colors, even reasoning with the MATH by using rational and well-thought out arguments and power point presentations. Nothing. The math would not yield its secrets to me.
After five minutes of staring at the MATH and wishing I had paid more attention in 4th grade instead of making faces at Donald Ackerman, I remembered the holy grail of percentages, and I knew that my salvation was nigh unto me: decimal points.
And then I did the MATH, and I did it good. I round-house kicked that MATH in the face. And in the end, MATH was really just math, and Munch was proud, and so was Chuck Norris. Because let’s face it – I can do one mean round-house kick.