Math is not my strong suit. Words, maybe, but not numbers. At least, not more than three numbers at a time or in a row. There’s some kind of learning ~~disability~~ *difference* going on and almost any facts that contain a string of numbers draws a blank in a few areas of my brain.

How can that be fixed?

Think.

My wife and I have been watching a YouTube channel called My World Is Getting Dumber. Interviewers ask rather straightforward questions of American high school students. It’s not pretty.

When was The War of 1812 fought?

Seriously? The number of students who get that question wrong or just refuse to *figure it out* is scary.

Hello? 1812! Duh.

Who fought in the Spanish-American War?

See the problem there? It’s not so much remembering boring facts that will never get used again as it is being able to figure out the answer to a question.

How do I do math?

Fingers and toes.

Most of us are blessed with the same number of fingers and toes and they can be used to solve most math problems. The number 10 is a good start toward solving math problems. Here’s one of the problems given to students.

What’s 14×8?

Honestly, I have no idea. I have a couple of calculators that can get the answer within a few seconds. One calculator is installed on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Another is installed in my brain.

I don’t know the answer to 14×8 but I know that 14×10 is 140. That’s easy to figure out. 10 is just two 14s more and that’s easy, too. 28. And, 28 subtracted from 140 is easy. 112. The answer to that math problem took about as much time do do in my head as it did to reach for the calculator on my phone (or, iPad or Mac).

What about fingers and toes? There are 10 of them and that’s a good start toward figuring out a math problem.

Fingers and toes are a calculator of sorts; highly visible, of course, but useful enough to solve math problems simply by using a mixture of addition and subtraction with a measure of multiplication.

That said, it still requires you to think but once you get the hang of 10 fingers and toes combined with simple multiplication then you’ll do better at figuring out math problems in your head.

It works.

What is 221×11?

I don’t know. But I know that 221×10 is 2,210 and x11 is just one more 221 to add to it. 2,431. Fingers and toes is simple math that almost anyone can perform but slicing and dicing some addition, some subtraction, and a little basic multiplication can turn you into a human calculator.