Three weeks ago I received a letter from a reader nicknamed Skip. I've traveled, slept, stared into space, chewed Rice Krispies absentmindedly, mulling over this letter, over the questions he asked me. It took me quite a while to figure out what the right response would be. Eventually, I told him the truth.
With Skip's permission here's his letter. Feel very free to respond in the comments section below! (Lix is the nickname dubbed me by this equally aliased person)
Any assumption you make about how miserably poor I was at basic arithmetic is right! Actually, only the absolute worst assumption would be right. It was that bad! Solving the supposedly simple sums almost ruined my greatness, but I graduated primary school, eventually. So you can imagine what happened to my super-hero-life in secondary school when simultaneous equations got into the mix. But what’s a super hero without a nemesis?
………. find x
Arrrrgh! This damn question or instruction or whatever.
The frustration it brought me was almost spiritual, I was hopeless, like I was born without the requisite skills to find "x". And come to think of it, it could have been a medical condition. I bet there’s medical research going on right now somewhere; I bet there’s a support group somewhere for folks living with this condition.
Anywhoz, I just didn’t gerrit, I could never find x.
What’s your story? How did it make you feel? Did it bother you too or were you better than me? I bet you were better than me and you found "x" all the time. I can feel your self-righteousness from here sef; mtchewwwww! Lol!
And my imagination Lix, sometimes I would just drift during tests and stare at the ceiling; who was this being asking me to find x? I used to picture Gandalf. Sometimes it was my old primary school math teacher. He was mean and probably a wizard too.
Sometimes they were together, Gandalf and my old primary school math teacher.
They would sit and laugh, share stories about my previous tests and mock me.
The fun they had during my London GCSE Math exam! And I ended up with a ‘U’ grade too. Lix, there’s the A* and the A grade, then B and C, then D, then E, and then there’s F for Fail, followed by ‘Absent’ and finally U for ‘unclassified’. You can imagine the kind of intense nonsense I must have written to be graded lower that someone who was absent.
Are you still proud of me? Are you close to buying the ‘medical condition’ theory yet?
The ultimate humor is how confident and sure I always was about "x". I always thought I found "x" until the teacher said I didn’t, until I got my test score.
I’ve always wondered why anyone needed "x" anyway, why so necessary? Why so frequently? Like why is it so important and what is it supposed to do? What happens when you find x? The right x.
One time, after all was said and done, I found x and I was certain. There was no confusion; her smile, the way she looked at me and how she made me feel, this was it. If there ever was an x, this was the most confident I had ever been.
She was vivacious. She looked like I like, walked like I like, thought like I like and prayed like I like. What more could I ask for? And what she saw in me, when she spoke about me; the best medicine.
She always built me up.
Whatever went wrong?
My best answer has always been timing. Timing not because she was older, timing not because she was ready to settle waaay ahead of time and I wasn’t. Maybe her fault was being right at the wrong time.
There was no doubt she was right, there is no doubt. She was definitely x, the right x. Errrr okay Lix, I know. I know I shouldn’t be taken seriously as to what x is, isn’t or what it should be, but she felt so right, the only heart I ever broke.
How the hell then do you find x? Not just any x though, but the right x? Is there an x for every phase? Is there really an absolute right x that works out the theory of everything or do you just find any x and make it right? Did every couple find the right x or are they just getting by?
..one x to rule them all, one x to find them,
one x to bring them all and in the darkness bind them..
You’ve found x Lix. Tell me.
I always thought I found x until the teacher said I didn’t, until I got my test score.
On your sofa,