Orange is The New Math
Like a lot of people, I tend to say that I was never good at math. However, when I say it I mean, I was really never good at math. Not good, as in failing Geometry and never making it past Algebra 2 kind of bad. So, when I heard I had to take placement tests before picking out a class schedule, I went into a bit of a panic. Not over the writing or reading part, I do that all day, everyday.
But they wanted me to take a math test.
Aside from basic calculations, such as figuring out my living room's square footage or how many miles I needed to walk to work off that Snickers bar, I don't do math. Ever. But the friendly placement test page of my community college's website had some "practice" problems that I could download. So, in the spirit of wanting to do well on the test, I downloaded the problems.
They may as well have asked me how to put a space shuttle into orbit or how much combined Botox was in Kenny Rogers' and Meg Ryan's faces. Impossible to detect and just as distasteful.
I swallowed my pride and called over my fifteen year-old daughter. She glanced at my computer screen and started scribbling on a piece of paper. "This is easy, we did this last year," she says as she hands over the paper.
"Oh, right," I say,"orange."
"Orange? Orange what?"
"The answer. The answer is orange because whatever you did on this piece of paper could might as well mean orange."
She looks at me in disgust and walks away. I enlist my husband who is less likely to become frustrated with me for some help on basic algebra. After a few of my intellectually and mathematically sound answers of "orange", he too walks away.
Apparently I am unteachable, so I use Google, an abacus, and a basic function calculator to try and work the rest of the problems. To my dismay most of them are not orange, and I end up deciding to just take the test and be done with it. A week later I am sitting in an uncomfortable, oddly shaped, supposed-to-be-ergonomic-but-my-legs-are-to short-for-it-to-be-of-any-benefit-chair staring at a screen full of this:
Ok, I don't think that is a real problem, but you get the idea. An hour and a half later with three sheets of barely recognizable scribblings on a piece of scrap paper, and a killer headache later, I whisper "orange" and submit the test. The results are not "orange", they are pitiful. Remedial class pitiful. Or sorry, it is called "developmental" not remedial now.
Sadly, I check out with the proctor, and take my results with me. Later, I would show them to an academic advisor who told me gleefully that she had never seen a reading score so high.
"Yeah?, I said, "Check out that math score. Bet you haven't seen one that low." Mercifully she laughed, and I just couldn't feel all that bad about it anymore. That's why I was going to college, right? If I were a math genius I wouldn't need college, and I would be working at NASA by now.
And every one of my answers would be "orange".