The great divide

The other day I found myself, for reasons that are too boring to recount, having to do some long division the old fashioned way, with pen and paper and brain. Long story short: I couldn’t. It was amusing at first, a brief stumble soon to be forgotten. Then I tried again. This goes into that, and you put the new number down there and then … no, wait. You put it on top and then you add the … no, that’s not it either. Oh, I see, you put a nought where … I was at it for fifteen minutes, eyeing each new answer with increasing suspicion, before I was forced to give up and wait until I got to my phone. This episode is clearly a damning indictment of something, and while I would like to think that the something is the Department of Education or possibly the entire field of mathematics, I suspect that it’s me. If I’m going to forget anything, why can’t it be the names of eighties one hit wonders? But oh, no. It’s the useful stuff that’s seeping away. What’ll be next to go? Multiplication? Subtraction? Please God, not addition. The worst part is that my relationship with my phone has been ruined. Cocky little bugger. So smug in its plastic overcoat. ‘Oooh, look at me, I can do long division.’ Huh. I bet it wouldn’t know Cutting Crew or Spagna if they walked up and punched it in the Home button.


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