Page 94 - Montecito Journal Glossy Edition Summer Fall 2013

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The Agony Of Arithmetic
barely survived long division at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School
in Montecito. My father always said that when God was handing out
brains for math, I must have been behind the door. As a student at
Mt. Carmel, and later in high school and college, I just could not see an
immediate or long-term useful application to my life. I was not sure where I
was heading – lawyer, street sweeper, tennis pro – but I felt instinctively that
I would not need math to be or feel fulfilled. I’d be right about that, but as
with all aspects of Catholic school in the ‘50s and ‘60s, there was suffering
by Christopher
Math And Mt. Carmel
and confusion to get through before you came out the other end. The
nuns and priests had agendas that applied – they were absolutely certain –
to our souls, and tangential to that was education, and, it seemed to me,
especially math, which became a predictable component of the official
program of agony.
I always had problems with the sideways bracket with the number
inside, the number on the left side, the number on top. I got by,
by the
skin of my teeth
, as we said then. I could answer the big questions, “Who
Made You?” “God Made me,” when the pastor, Father Cook, visited Sister
fal l