I've always been bad at math. I was homeschooled until the sixth grade and I remember my mother trying to teach me long division and how I cried and cried until she told me we could stop.
When I was twenty three my mother gave me a big shoe box of all the standardized tests I had taken through grade school. I was dismayed to see that I had always scored far below average in math. And I had always scored in the high nineties in my verbal skills. I guessed that I just wasn't a "math person."
Later, the extremes got worse. I paid for my 98 percentile verbal GRE score with my 13 percentile GRE math score - I thought the reason for my great verbal skills was BECAUSE of my poor math skills. As if I had to sacrifice one for the other, like how the ancients thought that the blood of a pure white sheep brought a good harvest.
It's not logical. But what do you expect from someone who scored in the 13th percentile on her GRE's for math?
I never have death dreams - dreams where a lion is chasing me with a knife, or my car is going over a waterfall.
I have dreams about math. In the dreams I have to go back to school because it turns out I actually didn't graduate. Why? Because I didn't pass my math class. In the dreams I'm an adult and I have to go back to high school. All of my former schoolmates are there except they are still children and I'm the adult and somehow, I'm still the embarrassed one .
The bottom line, in each dream, is that I failed because of math.
I have this dream every month or so.
I read a Wired.com article about a math genius that hacked okcupid to find true love. The math genius created his own bots that mimicked human behavior to scrape data from the skins of tens of thousands of female profiles. He wrote his own algorithms so that one day he could meet his soulmate. And after 88 dates he found his soulmate and true love.
Internet commenters say, why didn't he stop wasting so much time on math and just go to a bar.
Other internet commenters come to his defense and say, not all people are born charming and extroverted.
I just met a pretty awesome guy - after going on only ten dates. That's 78 less dates than the math genius. I guess I'm lucky that I wasn't born a math genius.
But then I think: am I lucky to have been born verbally gifted? I mean, I did spend more than 24 hours writing my ok cupid profile. Writing and re-writing. Editing, tweaking. I even got one of my friends to help me workshop it. I used my English degree and my masters in Creative Writing and countless hours spent writing in cafes and bars in years past to … write that ok cupid profile. It wasn't a great piece of literature, but it was a good profile; it wasn't too long, or too boring, or too angry, or too entitled. It was fun but not ditzy. And I had fun writing it too!
Some people may question my need to spend so much time on my profile, since it's pretty clear your profile photo does most of the heavy lifting. I wondered about it too.
I talked to a friend who'd also read the article. "i don't know what kind of genius this guy is.. he went on so many dates!"
"Well, it was a Wired magazine article. They focused on the programming and geeky element of it - they just glossed over the fact that he went on so many dates. Besides, who knows if the guy really cared about finding a girlfriend anyway, maybe he just did the programming for the fun of it," my friend replied.
Ultimately though, I think we all want to find someone who loves us for who we are and what we love - whether it be words or numbers.