Why Math is An Aging Woman’s Friend
By Leigh Anne Jasheway, NABBW’s Associate for Boomer Humor
I’ll be 59 next month and it’s got me thinking about math. That’s right, MATH, that subject near and dear to the hearts of so many… nerdy girls like me.
My knowledge of math lets me honestly tell people I’m only 32. This statement is absolutely true when I calculate my age in base 19 instead of base 10. Using the same system, I also still weigh in at my birth weight. Booyah!
Prime numbers aren’t the only way math pays off – geometry is also helpful. For example, I also know that my knees hurt if I sit like an isosceles triangle for more than 5 minutes. It’s also clear that because the circumference of my waistline is calculated by diameter times pi that if I eat too much pie, I won’t be happy about the outcome.
One of these years, I’m sure I’ll also able to use algebra to solve for where my missing socks are.
I also save a lot of money because of my ability to do mathematical calculations quickly. For example, let’s take anti-aging creams. If I see a commercial for a $125 face cream that says “40% of women saw a 20% decrease in fine lines and wrinkles in 14 days,” my first thought is “So of the other 60%, did they see no change or did their crows’ feet actually get so deep they show up on Google maps as canyons?” And maybe the 40% who “saw improvement” got the cream in their eyes and when they looked in the mirror, it was like staring into the fog at a ghost?”
Then I actually do the math: .4 (40%) x .2 (20%) = .08. So the chances of your seeing any improvement in two weeks is 8%. That’s when I make a list of all the other ways I could spend $120 that would make me look at least 8% younger:
- Giant sunglasses ($20)
- Brightly colored Hawaiian shirt from the secondhand store that will be so distracting no one will ever see my crows’ feet ($5)
- Cost of hiring my octogenarian friend Donna to walk next to me for 5 hours so I look more youthful in comparison ($100 @ $20/hour)
And if you ever want to make an investment planner cry, quickly multiply his projected return on investment times the tiny number of years before you plan to take your retirement savings out to pay for knee surgery.
The upshot is, the next time your kids or grandkids complain that they’ll never have to use math in real life, just show them this column. It may not mean much to them now, but when there are enough candles on their birthday cake to rival the explosion of a supernova (did I mention that it also pays to have a working knowledge of physics and astronomy?), they’ll be happy they listened to you when you told them “Nerdy girls rule!”
Leigh Anne Jasheway, M.P.H. is a stress management and humor expert who helps women and men manage stress, embrace change, and become healthier by learning to lighten up. She speaks at 50-60 conferences and workshops every year including speaking regularly for AARP, and has been a national Speaking of Women’s Health and Healthy Woman keynoter. She’s a member of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH). Learn more about her at her website. Leigh Anne has authored two books: “Date Me Date My Dog” and “Confessions of a Semi-Natural Woman” (a collection of 99 of her funniest humor columns from the past ten’ish years – including the one that won the Erma Bombeck Humor Writing Competition.) Learn more about them on her website: AccidentalComic.com. She also has a new blog. Of if she says, “If you go there and like what you see, you can subscribe by clicking the subscribe button (who knew?)”