Mathematics and CrayonsIn eighth grade, people who cut the lunch line became tarnished for eternity as villains. But if there was one thing worse than cutting the lunch line; it had to be seat-stealing. Therefore, the day Emma began stealing my assigned perfect-splinter-free seat, I knew she had declared all-out war. Ordinarily, this called for a brutal best-of-nine match of Rock-Paper-Scissors. But this time, I took it a step further. I escalated our fun rivalry into Mrs. Massaro’s weekly problem-solving contests.The Friday before Winter Break, I was pumped. I had flattened her in the first nine problems. Emma York’s reign of seat-stealing would finally come to an end. Moving on to the last problem, I read, “How many paths in this maze can the cat take to catch the mouse?” The war had to end in style. I uncorked the big guns: a barrage of permutations, grids, and Vandermonde’s identity. It was an all-star lineup of the fancy stuff big high school students were haunted by. I was proud.
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wax, crayons, Passer rating, Emma York, brutal best-of-nine match