Remember "word" problems?
Doesn't the very name suggest dilemmas that might arise in classes teaching grammar, LANGUAGE, punctuation, and even the appropriate use of CAPITALIZATION, rather than something that would force countless innocent schoolchildren to worry needlessly about exactly how fast they MIGHT be going when the train they're (hypothetically) on CRASHES into another train? Or, provided with the speeds, exactly how much time they will have, once they have boarded the ill-fated train, to get their affairs in order before meeting their certain doom?
What kind of math sadist and/or "educator" came up with THAT? Not that Montessori lady or Albert Einstein, I'm sure. That man had crazy hair, but he had kind eyes. So, who would be evil enough to design this level of torture? Maybe Stalin. Old Joe Stalin. Or Hitler, he was nothing but pure evil, too. But NOT Einstein. You leave Einstein out of all this, okay?
Maybe it was someone just as evil, but not "outed" as such. What about the person who came up with the lyrics: "Two hearts beat as one"? Because, although it's a catchy, "we're so in love" kind of song, the math is irresponsible. It is mathematically, as well as biologically, impossible to share a working human heart. Unless you're part of a set of specifically designed Siamese twins, which I doubt the lyricist was, making his song, as well as his math, politically incorrect! Please disregard my accusation and subsequent character assassination if one or more conjoined twins DID indeed write that song, as since revealed during an episode (that I missed, obviously!) of VH1's highly rated investigative series: Late Night Pop-Up Videos.
I maintain my opinion that the Siamese Twin Theory of Math is politically incorrect, if not mathematically so, except as in the aforementioned case of conjoined twins. The TITLE is not PC, I mean, not conjoined twinnage- the concept. The CONCEPT of willingly sharing one human heart (NOT over a candle-lit dinner- do NOT even start the "but what about Hannibal Lector" debate with me again!) is just about the most awesomely perfect, selfless act I have ever heard of!
Imagine if, instead of waiting for a compatible donor TO DIE (what a dismal, ironically kind of optimistic way to live), compatible, LIVING, donors could be CONJOINED, using all the scientific research that already exists on healthy conjoined twins! NOBODY has to die for Duck Chainey to get a new heart! (It was just plain bad luck that the first guy he shot in the head was not a compatible donor, but mightn't such "accidents" be prevented if the Conjoined Donor Project were perfected?)
At this point, it would be completely understandable if you need to go lie down for a while. It's a LOT to process, I know. Particularly for those of you who may have started reading this expecting a whimsical story about a cartoon train with a sparkling personality and fun, but SAFE, adventures in math, and ALWAYS happy endings (not dirty happy endings, you pervs! Why do pervs read my blog? Go away, pervs!). Sorry about that. Best let your mom screen all your reading material in the future. Unless your mom is ME, in which case, I feel EXTRA sorry for you. Good luck with that, girls!
Now that I have single-handedly SOLVED the problem of Human Organ Donation Shortage (ya'll welcome!), I need to finish my point about word problems so that I can get to work on my Nobel Prize acceptance speech!
I imagine the pool of potential train company employees is TINY because of "word" problems. Exception: human resources department. Because THEY know THEY don't have to get ON a train, EVER. Their H.R. to WORKER ratio is the highest of any industry or vocation in the world, unless you count President of the United States, and the Queen of England, neither of whom are required to use either math OR trains.
Work-related Hypothetical Pre-Event Stress Disorder (HPSD) has been identified as the primary cause of incapacitating mental illness of railroad industry employees, department and specific job description not withstanding. This makes perfect sense once you realize that these employees have absolutely NO navigational control of the vehicle whatsoever, have probably watched Unbreakable (the heart-breaking documentary starring the incomparable Bruce Willis and THE Samuel L. Jackson) more than once, and they are aware that trains have loooong break-to-stop times. They don't have STEERING WHEELS, or joysticks, or ANYthing! Most of them are triple wrapping their entire bodies in bubble wrap and riding in a large appliance box duct-taped into the previously determined "safest" spot in the middlest boxcar during their two-weeks notice resignation period, IF they are coherent enough to provide notice, or speak or write at all by that point.
In fact, it IS possible to SLIGHTLY change course, by having someone get out and "throw" the switch, but it takes a LOT of advance planning, choreography, and practice drills (none of which are provided by their employers) to achieve that level of precision. Lacking that training (accidental pun which I'm leaving in because it made me giggle inside for a second), once they see another train heading straight for them, all their other job training is instantly nullified, and their minds are taken over as all those word problems from long ago come flooding back in, causing acute, REAL, panic attack producing flashbacks to hypothetical memories that were forever seared into their subconscious during their formative years.
At this point, sheer terror takes over, and they are as frozen as deer* caught in the brights, until the other train passes safely by, ITS schedule having allowed for one of its employees to be waiting to flip the switch at just the right moment, causing the other (completely NON-hypothetical) train to veer slightly, onto the other set of tracks, preventing an otherwise dramatic, possibly dangerous, potentially lucrative screenplay based on a Real Life Tragedy! There are TOO many victims to count in this scenario, unless you are one of the lucky negative 23% of the 4 out of 3 people who are GOOD at math! And you AREN'T, are you? It's okay. No one else can tell, really.
If you are an American adult, the famous Bill of Rights protects you from being forced to consent to random math ability assessments. Don't be afraid to assert your 7/8th Amendment Rights. After all, that's what our fourfathers fought and died for.
*Deer do NOT necessarily freeze in the presence of headlights, or any other kind of lights. This is an old redneck wives' tale that considered only the behavior of experimental deer raised by depraved Wildlife Engineers (game wardens). But, that's a whole 'nother discussion.