He hands me a small piece of paper.
I panic. My heart begins to pound and sweat drips down from my face. What? Why is he asking me this? I stammer out an awkward "umm, uhh.." as my future unemployer grins devilishly. He knows that I'm stuck. He can see the desperation in my eyes. I stumble to spit out some kind of an answer and hope that it's close enough. "Well, I would assume based on that, that umm.. k = 7?"
His grin turns to a dark, somber frown. With a look of disgust he stands up, hands me my resume, and sighs a heavy breath. "I'm sorry to say this Matthew, but there's no place for you at this company. Quite frankly this is just sad. Everybody knows that understanding mathematical functions is important for real life. You should've listened to your high school math teachers."
This is the only insane situation I could ever imagine where that could ever be true. I mean seriously, how many adults have ever needed to plot the points of an exponential function or solve for the vertex of a parabola? And if they did, how many would've just used a god damn computer to do it?!
Teachers and schools teach students how to get around irrelevant, self-constructed walls. Every math problem is preparing kids for the real world. For their view of "employment". An unlimited number of insignificant problems that must be completed or else ______. If they want to train future employees to be mindless drones, that's their prerogative. But it doesn't have to be that way. I see an economy driven by creative thinkers. I see a question with more than one answer. I see that one day, all social classes might love their jobs and feel passionate about what they do. That has to start at the bottom. With young people using their brains and their passions fully.
Parabolas are stupid. Think about that.