I became an artist because I hate math

cmyk dots I became an artist because I hate math

During my stint at the Dayton Daily News, I used to do career day at local schools. I think everyone at the paper just wanted a day off from me which is why they always nominated me to go. That’s ok; give me an open mic and a stage and I’m all over it!

So I showed up at a Dayton elementary school to speak to a classroom full of fourth-graders. There was the usual collection of policemen with their uniforms and shiny badges and fireman in hats — with firetrucks parked out in front for the kids to climb on later — lined up ready to speak.

And then there was me, the newspaper guy with his rolls of pages and color proofs.

This time, though, there was a quiet, almost shy, odd-looking man in the mix, sitting next to me with a large bag on his lap.

“What do you do,” I asked curiously.

“I’m a church minister,” he replied.

The minister got up to give his presentation right before me. He unzipped his bag, pulled out a keyboard, set it up and started channeling Martin Luther King, belting out a chorus of “Your attitude affects your altitude!”

I was a dead mutt walking.

When he was done, he had every kid on his feet with their hands in the air, singing at the top of their little lungs. I could have sworn that as he came back to the row of chairs all us adults with jobs were all sitting in, his eyes shimmered with an evil glint that said, “Follow that, dead tree media sucker!”

I strode to the front of the class, wondering how I was ever going to follow that. Clearly my practiced presentation I had given hundreds of times before was not going to cut it this time. I took a deep breath and I blurted out, “I’m an artist and writer for the Dayton Daily News. I got into art because I hated math in school. How many of you hate math?”

All hands shot up. And the teacher gasped in horror.

I had no idea where that came from, but I knew at the moment where I was going to go with it. By the time I was done, I had every kid in the class calculating leading percentages, guessing the resulting color from CMYK percentages, giving me the word count on a 10/12 copyflow in a 3×11 space… the usual things an artist who hates math does.

The teacher was incredibly relieved I wasn’t a math heretic.

And I think I even converted a minister that day.

This blog post is part of a blog-off series with a group of bloggers from different professions and world views, each exploring a theme from his/her world view. This was about exploring the theme, Taking as second look at the familiar. To explore how others handled the theme, check them out below. I will add links as they publish.

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About Rufus Dogg

I'm a dog who writes a blog. It is not a pet blog. It is a real blog that talks about real ideas. No, really. I do my own writing, but I have a really, really cool editor who overlooks the fact that I can't really hit the space-bar key cause I don't have thumbs. I talk about everything from politics to social issues to just rambling about local problems. And, sometimes I just talk about nothing in particular. Google+
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10 Responses to I became an artist because I hate math

  1. Scott Sliver says:

    Did you really say, “Give me an open mic and a stage and I’m all over it!” (Is that “Don’t Stop Believing” I hear in the distance??)

    I remember those days of spec-ing type… I could chisel out Cheltenham Medium Condensed better than anyone!

    Good post as usual. Loved your use of the word “strode.” Nice work!

  2. Love your post! Too often, elementary education focuses on learning a lesson. Much too infrequently, children get the opportunity to apply knowledge to life. I encourage other teachers to incorporate creative ways to to apply lessons to life. One example was when my child’s math class measured diameters and circumferences using tree stumps. Ecology was an important part of the school’s theme that year. Even by itself, however, the lesson got them out of the classroom, moving around, and using math.

  3. Joe Freenor says:

    Well, truthfully, nerd me always liked school. Of course, when I went during the fifties and sixties, kids were expected to just memorize what we were given, whether we liked it or not. But, as I say… I liked it! But as one who has done my share of public speaking (I won trophies in collegiate competition), I do know the feeling of sitting in a chair, waiting for my turn to follow the guy who’s just aced it! Wonderful save, my man!

  4. Rufus Dogg says:

    Strode = Walk and chew gum at the same time (yes, a allusion to Stride brand gum)

  5. Rufus Dogg says:

    This reminds me of every trip I ever make to Panera Bread. When I get up to the counter, I always ask if they have salt bagels. Nine times out of ten, the person behind the counter would say, “No, but a lot of people ask for them!” So…. should they just not solve the problem and make salt bagels??

    Back to education.. teachers will tell you the number one complaint students have with math, “when are we ever gonna use this in the real world?” SOLVE THAT by doing something about it, not just complain that everyone asks that stupid question.

    But I fear the solution our “leaders” will employ is just to eliminate math from the curriculum. Problem solved; nobody asks when they are gonna use that in real life anymore.

  6. Rufus Dogg says:

    And I was the last speaker too, so the only other thing I had to compete against was lunch :-)

  7. Excellent and made me laugh. What amazing maths for a dog!

  8. Rufus Dogg says:

    Thanks! The math in my head is the easy part.. it’s when I need to work the calculator keys with my big paws and no thumbs :-)

  9. Robin says:

    OMG – that was the best!!!!! I loved math when I was a kid – stlll do – but the thought of being and Engineer seemed dreadful to me. I decided to become an “artist” and became a kitchen and bath designer – guess what – I do math every day!!! I love the way math sneeks into your life and is absolute! With design there are so many options, with math – there is only one answer.

    Kind of nice when our world has so many options!

    Thank you so such a fun blog!

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