# counting

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### top belief!

I used to believe that 'a couple' meant three of something and 'a few' meant four of something. So, if my Dad asked me to go and get a couple of cups I would come back with three!

### top belief!

I used to believe that there were only 100 peple in the whole world. I remember being very confused sitting in School assembly when I was about 6 and realising that there were more than 100 people in the room.

### top belief!

I used to believe I had re-invented mathematics. I didn't like to learn the table of multiplication so I looked for an easy way out. I decided that if I didn't know what e.g "9 x 6" was I would deduct one from the first number and add one to the next number ( or the other way around)till it was a multiplication I actually knew. e.g "9 x 6" is "10 x 5" so I knew the answer to that one "50"! The teacher didn't quite understand how I came up with those numbers....

I once counted to ninety-ten. I think it was a moment of absentmindedness, which are cmmon with me, but you can never be sure...

I never really was able to believe that one pound of feathers actually weighed the same as one pound of lead...

'But dad, It's _LEAD_ ! _LEAD_ ! and feathers !'

### top belief!

When i was about five, i couldnt figure out what number came after fourteen. i knew it sounded like fourteen, so when i counted to twenty out loud, i would say fourteen twice, but the second time i would say it faster, and mumble it a bit. i didnt think any grown ups ever caught on, and i thought i was so clever.

### top belief!

I thought that if I spent enough time, I could write the biggest number in the world. So I took a piece of chalk and wrote a 1, and then started following it with lots of zeros. (By the way, I was writing on the outside of my house, which didn't make my dad very happy!)

When I had written enough zeros, I proudly showed it to my Dad, who, after calming down from yelling at me about writing on the house, said, "Whatever number you write, I can write a bigger number." I said, "No you can't", and to prove me wrong he took the chalk and drew another zero. Then it dawned on me that there is no largest number!

This led to "infinity" matches with my sister. She would say something involving "infinity", and I would respond with "infinity times infinity" and she would retort with "infinity times infinity plus a googol" and so on ad infinitum!

### top belief!

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...

### top belief!

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.

### top belief!

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.

### top belief!

I used to believe there was a number "eleventeen". I could never quite work out where it went, though.

### top belief!

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.

### top belief!

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.

### top belief!

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...

### top belief!

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.

### top belief!

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.

### top belief!

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.

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