Of Course You Use Algebra, Liar


The above e-card is traded among internet users like a steamy hot potato of mirth.  “Haha, Math Teacher,” you say as you post it to your Facebook wall, “look.  Teenage me was right!  I said I would never use this, and I never do.”

It’s okay – you may not be a liar.  You may just be confused.  Maybe you’re blinded by lingering disgust with your algebra teacher.  I’ve seen him, I get it.  No one should have that much exposed chest hair.  And who is he kidding with that gold chain and faux skinny jeans?

But that doesn’t change the fact that, like it or not, you use algebra every day.  No matter how resistant you are, it’s an omnipresent function in your life.

Let’s start with work; it doesn’t matter what your job is.  If you’ve ever sat and wondered how many hours you would have to work before you could afford a whole ounce of pot, you were using algebra:


The argument that people make here is always this:  “Yeah, but it’s not like I’m sitting down with a piece of paper and figuring this out.  I’m not really doing algebra.”

Of course you’re not using a pencil – this is really easy math.  You don’t take out your notepad and perform long division every time you want to know how many dimes are in a dollar fifty, but you’re still dividing.  This is how your lounge-lizard of an algebra teacher got his job in the first place.  Yeah, he’s probably as dumb as you thought.

So, when you were surmising how many days it would take to watch all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in a row, you were using algebra.


When you are trying to figure out what the MPG is on your Volkswagen Beetle in an effort to convince your girlfriend to let you trade it in for a motorcycle, you were using algebra.


You were futilely using algebra, because buddy, that is a pipedream.  Your best bet is to go back in time and keep her from convincing you to buy the thing in the first place.  In fact, your best best bet is to go back and get the motorcycle before your meet her at all.

And to posit the claim that you “didn’t use algebra once” today, you would, in fact, have to use algebra to assert that claim in the first place.


Algebra is probably the most useful math you’ve ever learned, once you could multiply and divide.  But you can throw away your protractor because, geometry?  You’ll never need that.

A New and Better Black Death

black death web

Let’s lay down some hot truth:  If you throw a rock at a hornet’s nest, you deserve to get stung repeatedly.  If you light your fart on fire, you deserve to spend the rest of your life with half a scrotum.  If you decide to tie a jump rope to the back of your bro’s station wagon and ride behind him on a sled you strapped to your skateboard, you deserve that chunk of stop sign that is now permanently driven into your skull.

It is undeniably clear that the population of these types of people making these types of horrendous decisions is growing.  I mean, People have been watching Jackass and all of its unfortunate franchises since before I can even remember.

Additionally, I’ve seen Mike Judge’s Idocracy, and I find its supposition on procreation to be pretty sound.  Irrefutable, even.  That’s right, Mike Judge, you and I – we’re like this.

It occurs to me that it would be impractical not to see a correlation between an overpopulated planet and a burgeoning class of people attempting to ride their surfboards off their roofs.  In a population of seven billion people, the standard bell curve suggests that at least three and half billion people on this planet are about to do something stupid with a ceiling fan.

What is the solution for all this base jumping?  For all these drunk deer hunting accidents?  For all these backyard wrestling tournies?  For all these terrible, terrible decisions that just keep happening?

Black death.

Okay, that was a little dramatic.  For the record, I am not suggesting that we go out and start slaughtering anyone with a “My Kid Can Beat Up Your Honor Student” bumper sticker.  What I am saying, though, is that since the overabundance of  people riding shopping carts across four-lane highways seems to be a direct result of an overpopulated planet, a reduction of population would take the edge off.

Does this mean we should institute biological warfare against those who poke sleeping bears in the woods?  (And then are surprised when said bear mauls them…)  I mean, not being bear-poking people, we do have the resources to do that if we so chose.

No.  I posit that Mother Earth will take care of this on her own.  The planet can be viewed as a living organism and it has a history of finding new and interesting ways to combat the diseases that plague it.  (In this case, I am referring to the human species.)  For example, we have viruses, right?  I view viruses as a cellular extension of the organism “earth.”  Viruses kick our butts.  So to combat viruses we invented Lysol.  Then what happened?  Viruses evolved.  Now we have superviruses that literally eat Lysol.

The more our population grows and strains the organism known as earth, the harder earth will strike back.  Eventually made-for-TV movies like Contagion are going to become a reality, and we are all going to be exposed to some brand of new and improved Black Death that will greatly reduce the human population, world-over.  And, honestly, that is just what we need.

I sermonized on this subject once at work, and a coworker angrily said to me, “K. Jean King,” (yes, I insist that is what people call me at work), “what makes you think you’re so great?  You could die too.”

This affirmed for me the need for Black Death 2.0.  At no point in this argument have I suggested that everyone die but me.  I am very well aware that my body may succumb to this new and improved form of population control; I could die in the new Black Death.  But, hey, I’ll take one for the team if it means a better, less nut-shot-driven society.

Ebola doesn’t discriminate.  A virus that spreads worldwide will attack every brand of person.  We will lose some artists, we will lose some athletes.  We will lose some scientists, and we will lose some philosophers.  Yes, some promising and intelligent people will be swept away.

But what is more important is that, since majority of the people on the planet are attaching NOS tanks to tricycles – just to see what will happen – then majority of the people who are wiped out by this supervirus saving grace will, in fact, be the very same people who stick forks in electrified toasters and try to fell trees with their pickup trucks.

A worldwide virus might seem a bit harsh; but, you have to admit, imagining the world with 1.75 billion less people sticking matchbox cars up their anuses just for the funny x-ray does give you that sense of happy-place tranquility.