Click to go to other BBHQ pages
  privacy | contact us | FAQ | member services | BBHQ newsletter | this week’s essay | site nav | mobile?

Click here for great pictures, posters & autographs

BBHQ Boomer Essays:

The New Math

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer’s perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

A few years ago I bought a calculator for my neighbor, who was opening her own beauty shop. It seemed to be an essential tool to a young woman who could do wonders with hair, but could not read the electronic speedometer on her car; at least that’s what she always told the police. She was thrilled to receive the calculator, but brought it back to me the next day saying it didn’t work. We’ll take care of that, I said, a little bit embarrassed. But thank goodness I had the sense to ask her what was wrong before I stormed into Best Buy and demanded a replacement. She showed me that when you entered seventy-five cents (.75) and added fifteen cents (.15) to it, the result was not ninety cents. It was .9, not .90. It did not work right.



When I was in tenth grade, they put me in an advanced math class. I did not feel particularly comfortable there, but I squeaked by. We sailed through Venn diagrams, some basic trigonometry, quadratic equations, polynomials, and I don’t know what else. That must have given me an inferiority complex, 'cause I struggled with trig in college, and dropped out of math as soon as I could. No rocket science for this kid.

But it caught up to me when I took a graduate economics class. We spent half the term calculating the standard deviation, variance and a bunch of other junk; I have no idea why; I guess they just ran out of things to teach that dealt with economics. After a few supply and demand concepts, elasticity of demand, and the Federal Reserve, there is not much else concrete to know about economics. All the rest is just supposition, theory, and an abundance of social policy. Not to pile on economists here, but it was famed economist John Kenneth Galbrith who said that "economics is a very useful form of employment for economists." That about says it all.

Anyway, I was more than a little concerned when the supervisor of my first real-world job asked me how good I was at statistics. I bluffed my way through an answer, but I was ready to hang it up and look for another job. Oh, I could calculate a standard deviation, but I had absolutely no idea what it was used for. But about 30 minutes into this job, I realized that what he meant by statistics and what I thought was statistics were two entirely different things. To him, statistics meant keeping track of the number of widgets produced, ordered, sold, and returned. This was nothing more than third-grade math.... or at least what had been third-grade math for me.

Such was my introduction to the real world. In most of the real world, you don’t have to know much beyond addition, subtraction, multiplication, and some simple division. And with about a jillion calculators around, how difficult can it be?

Apparently, just a tad over the head of most of today’s workers, that’s how difficult. I always anguish when I go the deli to buy some roast beef. It starts as soon as I take number and patiently wait my turn. I am number 68; according to the electronic counter on the back wall, they are currently serving number 60. The highly skilled clerk looks at the counter and punches a button to advance it to the next number. But then she has to turn around and look at the counter again to know what number to call next. "Now serving number... sixty....... one." Come on, lady; 60 plus 1 is 61! Always has been; always will be.

To continue reading this essay, please join us as a member at BBHQ!

BBHQ Membership -- $9 Per Year -- Here's What You'll Get:

  • Access to hundreds of boomer stories about
        boomers, growing up, growing older,
        staying young, staying smart,
        and remembering the good ol' days
  • 18 books in the BBHQ Trivia Library
  • BBHQ’s Name That Tune quizzes
  • Who Said That?
  • What’s in a Number?
  • What’s in a Number? - R&R edition
  • The Name Game
  • The Boomer Movie Quiz
  • A BBHQ Time Capsule Report
  • Unlimited access to lyrics to over 750 songs
  • Search the title and artist of over 4,000 oldies
  • Search 750 song lyrics for a word or phrase
  • Print the boomer verbal collages -
         (Home Page/60s/70s pages)
  • Access to other special features
  • The great comfort of knowing that you
        have helped save us from financial
        disaster. (We are too small to fail.)


$9 per year... come on!

All we need here is your name and e-mail address:

First name:     Last name:

E-mail address: Please enter this security

1 year, $9         5 years, $35   (save $10)


We'll send you to to process your payment; then, PayPal will send you back here as a new member. Your payment will go through the secure, encrypted services of, the most trusted Internet payment system.

Click here for great pictures, posters & autographs

If you want a reply from us, include your name
and e-mail address:

(Your message will not get to our staff unless you include your name and e-mail address.
But we will never share your e-mail address with anyone.
Our statement on privacy is here.)


Hershel's kinda-like-a bio:
 Click here for a quick explanation about the philosophy behind these essays

BBHQ Boomer Stories

essays available
      to everyone

We're Not the Bad

 Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)
"Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)," 55 songs: 2 CDs and a DVD from their last concert tour.
Click here to order this great collection.

The Boomer Essays - On Being a Boomer:

The BBHQ Freedom Series

(Mouseover to preview each story)

essays available to everyone

  Declaration of Independence
        What is Says; What it Means

The Boomer Health Care Series
    (Mouseover to preview each story)

The Midlife

Crisis Series

Middle Age &

the Mazdamobile

The Teach, Preach and Nag Series
    (Mouseover to preview each story)

    (Mouseover to preview each story)

essays available to everyone

Hell No; We Won't Go!

    What Will We Do?

    Do Not Go Gentle

The Boomer Money Series
    (Mouseover to preview each story)

The BBHQ Vacation Series
(Mouseover to preview each story)

Please help us by buying stuff through our link to

Search:   All Products   Books   Videos   Toys   Electronics
        Popular Music   Classical Music a whole lot more than just books!
Enter keyword(s):
Please check our Library or Video selection, or use this form to buy stuff from We need all the help we can get! Thanks.

The BBHQ Feature Album is "Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)," by Simon & Garfunkel. If you were fortunate enough to see them in concert in 2003, I do not have to sell you. The concert was terrific! This album collection includes 55 songs, plus their new recording, "Citizen of the Planet," and one of the songs sung by the Everly Brothers during the concert. The DVD was recorded during their concert in Madison Square Garden in 2003. For any S&G fan, this is a must have! But then, you knew that already, didn't you?  Old Friends Live on Stage (Deluxe Edition) (2 CD/1 DVD)

The BBHQ Feature Book is “Bobby Rydell – Teen Idol on the Rocks.” This is a “behind the scenes” story of one of the boomers’ first rock n’ roll stars. Told in the first person, Bobby chronicles his short ride to the pinnacle of fame and fortune, his glide through the 70s and 80s, and how he nearly lost it all. Relax; it has a happy ending. Bobby was (and is) a “normal” Philly guy... with an absolute love of music and an amazing gift. For any fan of early rock n’ roll, it’s a wonderful story. And yes, Bobby Rydell is still on tour, playing to boomer fans all over the world. Click here for a closer look at the book.

  Click to go to other BBHQ pages
  privacy | contact us | FAQ | member services | BBHQ newsletter | this week’s essay | site nav | mobile?

Copyright © 1997-2018, Baby Boomer HeadQuarters - WWW.BBHQ.COM - All rights reserved._
contact the Webmaster