My fellow inebriates,
When I saw V’s grade 8 math, I had to concur. Surface area of a prism? Square root of a four-digit number? Diameter of the hide covering of a drum being used in an Indigenous ceremony? My two brain cells got injured just watching her do these computations.
Mum’s brain cells were also injured. Being ancient, she couldn’t remember surface-area problems from math class, so she spent an afternoon relearning them (or perhaps learning them for the first time). I pictured her putting dresses on Barbies, puzzling how to wrench their disproportionate limbs through the holes and pulling Barbie’s string for reassurance. And of course I offered her a drink.
As for V, it was all she could do to stay with us. She’d already spent an hour online with these equations. It was probably worse watching Mum scratch her head than battle them herself. I pictured V wrenching Barbie’s disproportionate limbs off and setting her on fire. And of course I offered her a drink too.
This did not go over well. Apparently there are some rules about teenage drinking in our house. Rules that, as far as I know, have never been violated. In fact, V said she had no interest in drinking, having spent her whole life observing yours truly.
But you can’t really blame me, right? Math is tough! Even when Google offered to calculate the surface area for us, I felt unsettled.
Then my mum told this stupid story about how, when she was a kid and brought math problems home, her parents would say, “Oh, that’s the new math. They’ve changed everything; we can’t possibly help.” So she just muddled through it and immediately jettisoned all knowledge of it. Totally.
I mean, get this. My mum thought she was pouring an ounce of Bearface whisky the other night.
Turned out it was more like 2.5 ounces. OMG! If she’d had two of those in one night (which I generally encourage) she would have had a huge headache.
Her massive underestimate of liquid volume was revelatory. It explains why we can’t keep a decent supply of whisky in the house. And it puts the lie to any theories that the kids were drinking the whisky. It was all my mum, with her big, generous pours!
So how much should we be pouring at one time?
HealthLink BC recommends these “low-risk” drinking portions:
Men: Up to 3 standard drinks a day; no more than 15 a week.
Women: Up to 2 standard drinks a day; no more than 10 a week.
But what if the drink is really yummy? Like Bearface whisky, which is “elementally aged in the Canadian wilderness for a bolder, smoother flavour”?
What on earth is elemental ageing? Apparently, if your oak casks are in an extreme northern climate (or southern, I imagine), the cold amplifies the interaction of the wood with the booze. The makers of Bearface say the whisky temperature can fluctuate between minus 10 C and plus 40 C within a single day.
So, this sounds more like the planet Mercury than a Canadian wilderness. But what do I know? I’m as bad at science as I am at math. The only thing I do know is that Bearface is an interesting kind of hooch. It’s rich and dark, with a surprising kick of spice and a tannic, almost winey quality. The mouthfeel is medium-viscosity and slightly oily—substantial and bearlike, if I do say so. Bearface spends seven years sitting in a cask that sits inside a shipping container being abused by Canadian weather extremes, and that is how it comes by its oaky, toasty, woody, spiciness. Not super-complex, but it has enough going on to get you wondering what’s in it and how it all computes. (Did you see what I did there?)
What would anti-math Barbie say about Bearface whisky? Despite the zillions of words she was advertised to have said, no number of string-pulls could have anticipated a request for a whisky review. But if she had produced one, it could hardly have been more offensive than her claim that math was tough. At the time, everyone jumped on Mattel. How dare they represent Barbie as being dumb at math? After all, she was a role model for girls. What if Barbie’s defeatism deterred girls from STEM?
But maybe Barbie was just being honest. After all, she was contending with tons of physiological challenges. Her head was teetering on a neck that could barely support it. How did all her organs fit inside her body? She must have been missing at least one of her intestines and possibly her liver. Her proportions were such that, had she come to life, she would have had to walk on all fours. How could you expect her to do math? Especially hanging out with a himbo like Ken, who probably couldn’t do math either.
V was born long after the Mattel debacle. She never played with Barbies; she felt an instinctive revulsion about them. She doesn’t think Barbie represents women, whether doing STEM at UBC or fighting over a purse at Nordstrom Rack. V doesn’t give a crap what Barbie thinks about math, or anyone out there trying to imitate Barbie. (In fact, she eighty-sixed her Discord account this week.)
Regardless of the 30-year-old math-class-is-tough kerfuffle, it’s painfully obvious that Barbie can’t help us with our math today.
Nor, for that matter, can Bearface whisky, which is tasty enough that you might eyeball a 2.5-ounce pour as a HealthLink-recommended 1.5 ounces.
And my mum is worse than Barbie and Bearface put together, especially with a headful of Bearface—in which case, surface area of a prism be damned.
But you tell me, my fellow inebriates. What do you think about math? Are you good at calculating surface areas? What about liquid volume? Do you walk on all fours? Let me know!