Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Friday, April 27, 2018

"X" is for X-chaser

Back in the day when hand-held calculators
were new, and you were a kid, your father 
put you in the center of the living room
to perform math tricks
for friends. That stopped
after you purposefully made errors.
But your quick mind still does
calculations, relationships, and ratios,
as if solving x were some 
profound problem that
creates order out of chaos.

I never chased x and, I could say,
x never chased me. At first,
math enchanted me, the neat way 
a formula could lie on the page,
suggesting mysteries only I could solve.
And then we moved
and moved again,
and moved again. I was either ahead
or behind, and then forever behind.
Later, in a college required math class,
the instructor's mouth moved, 
spouting words I'd never heard.

Yet somehow, you forgive me this lack,
and I find value with
my hand in yours, 
your hand in mine, 
a very basic formula,
a perfect understanding.

I really wasn't sure what to write about today, for 'x' seems an unforgiving word, for me, rather like math. Then, I found this term, X-chaser in Paul Anthony Jones article, "40 Words That Start With X". Jones writes: "In old naval slang, an X-catcher or X-chaser was someone who was good at math—literally someone good at working out the value of x." And I thought of my husband.

I did enjoy accounting, though, and can't resist sharing this meme to honor a substitute teacher who pretty much responded in shock when she viewed my worksheets -- written in ink!

More about April's A-Z Blogging Challenge here:

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