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When I was about 5, I never knew about the number seven.
I used to count 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 9 10. I remember the shock when, on holiday, my parents told me about sevens.
I still think it was rather a pity; if they'd never told me, I would have been one of the only five-year olds in the UK who could count in base nine...
That the multiplication tables were made up by someone just like someone decided how to spell words. I just learnt them by heart, never understanding that 4 times 5 really makes 20.
When I first learned about infinity I thought it was totally the coolest idea ever. Zero was almost as cool because when you divide by zero, you get infinity. (Also zero was neither positive nor negative, but unique and totally its own thing -- how cool is that?) The wussy teachers and the math books used to say that dividing by zero was "undefined," but I thought that was some kind of a cop-out -- if you graphed it out, it obviously went to infinity. Why didn't they just say so?
And for some reason the teachers never really wanted to talk about infinity much -- they just looked uncomfortable and changed the subject. What were they hiding? I was sure there was some kind of conspiracy going on.
I have always had a strange feeling that even numbers are round, friendly and helpful because they are willing to be divided by two (and also because 2, 6 and 8 at least ARE roundy).
Odd numbers are mean and spiky and obnoxious because they refuse to be divided by two. (Also 1, 3, 5, and 7 ARE sort of pointy.)
Odd numbers are also bad because you can't share odd numbers of anything with a friend.
When I was first learning subtraction with two-digit numbers, we were told that to subtract a big digit from a little digit, you have to "borrow a one" from the tens place, which of course reduced the digit in the tens place by one. All true.
The problem was that I had been told very clearly as a child that when you GIVE something you get to keep it, but when you BORROW something, you have to give it back -- it isn't really yours. When the teacher completed the problem on the blackboard, I asked her when we were going to give the one back. She looked at me as if I was crazy, and said that you don't give it back.
I found this rather disturbing, and from that day to this I have always thought that subtraction was mean and unfair.
I used to believe there was a number "eleventeen". I could never quite work out where it went, though.
I used to think that 100+1=101 was too easy and therefore I thought it was wrong. I was soon corrected by my teacher who heard me calling somebody who thought that stupid.
When I was 6 years old, I somehow got the concept that counting was infinite - you could always go one higher. Naturally, I concluded that EVERY WORD is a number! So cow, pencil, and airplane were numbers, I just didn't know where they went in the whole scheme of things. This still makes sense to me.
I used to believe that numbers had gender.
8 being the most masculine, because it's fat. And 7 being the most feminine because it's thin.
My parents went and told everybody I could do math at the tender age of 4. It would go like this: "What's 12 minus 6 ?" Me: 6. "What's 4 divided by 2?`" Me: 2.
Later, I found out the hard way, that math wasn't just about repeating the last number you heard. Oh and for a while I thought 1+1 would be 11. Made perfect sense to me.
I still suck at math...
When in primary school we were taught with coloured wooden blocks marked with notches how to count, addition, subtraction etc. For example ten was always red, five green, single units were yellow. To this day I still relate colours to shapes and numbers and vice versa. Red + green = 15. I'm 34 (three yellows + four yellows) and an accountant.
I thought I was the only weirdo in existence who thought numbers had gender and personality but I see I wasn't the only one! Even more bizarre though, is that I felt they had "ages" also--1 & 2 were older, 3 & 4 were younger, 5 & 6 older, etc.
I was convinced that there was a number called "eleventeen", but was never sure how to count to it or where it lay in the great order of numbers. I just knew it was there.
I sincerly believed that numbers only went up to ten when i was around 2-3. Yep the next year when we started things like 20 and 100 i was amazed and quite convinced that they had just been invented. yep i was very proud to be around for the invention of numbers over ten.
I used to think certain numbers had personalities.9 was very smart and manipulative, and if other numbers didn't watch it, she'd add herself to them and rob them of their rightful place in the "teens". 4 wouldn't become 14, but only 13, etc. Four and six were nice, but easily fooled (especially 4), 7 was smart and 8 was bossy like my sister. Go figure! ;)
I used to believe that after the number "ten" came the numbers "tendy-one, tendy-two..." etc.
Though I knew that numbers were just numbers, negative numbers were somewhat evil to me. They messed up entire equasions by changing signs, and were just plain evil. I always liked cancelling negatives or adding larger positives to negatives to make them positive. To this day, I still enjoy getting rid of negatives.
It always confused me when my mom would ask someone what "percent" certain they were, and they would answer 80% or 90%. I thought, if you're certain, you're certain, and these people all must have an agreed upon number that would mean they are certain. Finally, my mom asked me the question one day, and I asked her "out of what number?" I thought it was a perfectly intelligent question (since the number could be anything) and she said 100. So I was 100% certain. What bothered me though, was that I would still hear other people quote other percents, yet my mom always told me the number was 100. It took me a while to realize you didn't always have to be 100% certain!
i could swear eleventeen was a number for the longest time -- it still sounds pretty convincing.
When I was about five or six I remember sitting in the school dinner hall boasting to my friends that I could count all the way to a thousand. Demonstrating I counted 1, 2, 3, ..., 99, 100, 101,... 108, 109, 1000. Incidentally one of the boys to whom I was boasting managed to count to 3000 without cheating when he was sixteen, one boring afternoon.