Farewell, old friend. Not having a nautical bone in my body, it is a surprise to me to love something so clever as a cardboard tide time calculator. In the big January clear up this friend of the past two years moved into the recycling pile. Having only a two-year life cycle it has moved into obsolescence during the festive season. Apart from informing me about the safest time to call a ‘bob’ for our group of hardy, year-round swimmers; I think I loved it because it reminded me of a Gestational calculator. An essential tool for anyone who works in obstetric medicine.
A quick whizz of this in a clinic gives an estimated date of delivery as long as a woman knew the date of her last period. Most of us who have used this calculator professionally have been asked to spin the wheel inaccurately by patients, anxious to make an acceptable man believe he was the father of their child, rather than the likely, but not necessarily acceptable, man that the true date indicated. We never did as they asked.
My mastery of these two sorts of calculators is miraculous to me given that a slide rule and logarithmic calculator books brought me to my knees in mathematics lessons .
Predicting the future my dad even bought me a round slide rule. It didn’t help.
The slide rule in any shape was just a method of torture to my poor dysnumeric brain. I wonder if learning maths is any easier in the 21st century. To be clear slide rules were not part of my formal education. My dad loved a slide rule, to him they were a miraculous magic wand into a world of mathematical calculations, a world that he entered for both work and pleasure. Despite his best efforts it is a world that I stand on the threshold of. I know enough to get by both in life and professionally but Maths is definitely the kind of party that I avoid wherever possible. A lovely man called Dan told me a maths joke last week. I was both fearful and mesmerised. Impressed by his ability to use the two words maths and joke in the same sentence.
So goodbye old friend, you gave me some brief credibility as someone who could use charts effectively. 2023 will not be the same without you.
P.S Straight after writing this I went to a news website. Our current Prime Minister wants to make studying maths compulsory up to age 18.
BBC News – Rishi Sunak wants all pupils to study maths to age 18