The Word Problems We Wish Schools Taught

by Kristin O'Keefe
Originally Published: 
How Much Coffee Should Your Parent(s) Drink Before Anyone Is Allowed to Speak?

1. If a = hours worked by household

2. If b = hours spent commuting in really crappy traffic

3. If c = hours spent on laundry/meals/cleaning/errands/mud pit of a yard

4. And if a + b + c = a lot of hours

5. Then, you may not speak to your parents until they have consumed a minimum of two gallons of coffee. Really, don’t even make eye contact. It’s safest that way.

How Much Downtime Does Mom Get After Driving You Everywhere?

1. If d = number of adorable children in household

2. If e = number of awesome activities/appointments per adorable child

3. If f = weekly hours spent driving adorable children to awesome activities and watching from sidelines/car/waiting room/God forbid Chuck E. Cheese’s

4. And if d x e x f > 10

5. Then Mom has earned one hour per week for a mani-pedi. Oh, the only open appointment is during your phase three braces checkup? OK, how about 30 minutes for a manicure? No, that’s during the soccer tots tournament. OK, final answer: five minutes. Just let your mother sit in the bathroom alone for five minutes. Bonus points if you keep the dog out and slide a People magazine under the door.

How Many Times Can Kids Complain About Dinner Before There’s a Consequence?

1. If g = number of meals made per week by parents

2. If h = times Mommy needs to call for help trying to scan a $%^ avocado in the self-checkout line, after she spilled pumpkin-spice latte all over her favorite white shirt

3. If i = number of times someone dared to complain about dinner

4. And if i > 0

5. Then, Mom gets one or more glasses of wine and Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken for dinner, and you get leftovers. Something with broccoli. (Yes, g and h are relevant factors. They are known in mathematical terms as tipping points. Sure, I’ll show you exactly where to graph them.)

Just How Loud Can Mom’s Voice Get?

1. If j = number of times you make your younger sister cry for your friends’ entertainment

2. If k = times you roll your eyes when Mom tells you to cut it out

3. If l = number of annoying emails Mom gets from her boss about a simple memo that cannot be revised one more time

4. And if j + k + l > 3

5. Then, Mom gets to blast “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper and dance like Elaine from Seinfeld. Trust me, you’ll know who she is soon enough. (Yes, it was a trick answer, because we know you no longer care how loud our voices get. You have adapted. So have we.)

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