My preparation for the SATs resulted in my first significant encounter with a scientific calculator. And it was a comic first date!
Studying in the Indian system of education, my use (and knowledge thereof) of a scientific calculator was limited, as we Indians prefer to calculate every thing in our heads. So the first time I used a scientific calculator in its true self was when I answered a mock SAT test at a popular SAT coaching centre. After unwrapping the brand new gadget from its box, I quickly put it to use, in order to calculate a long expression involving decimals. And too my horror, the answered was in fractional form! The scheming little devil! To add to this, all the answer choices were in decimal form. My date had trapped me! A cold sweat broke onto my forehead as I couldn’t perceive the thought of getting a single question wrong, especially in Maths, my strong subject. Yeah you read that right Americans, I said ‘Maths’ not ‘Math’, because that’s how I roll. (Forgive the sudden need on my part to sound cool, that was just my nerdy-gangsta sense kicking in).
So as I sat there, the calculator stared at me. It was motionless, almost as if to prove its innocence. The question, on it’s part, chuckled, as if it was my destiny to get it wrong. Regardless, the stipulated time for the section I was attempting, got over, and i made an educated guess for the answer (no it wasn’t a wild guess), and it turned out to be the wrong answer. Oh the heavens!
That day I went home with my calculator and tried to read the manual. Guess what, the manual was in Chinese! It was almost as if the universe was playing a practical joke on me! I cursed under my breath and threw the calculator onto my desk, not knowing that an expression was typed into it. As I watched it land on my table, I noticed that a button on the calculator had got lodged inwards and I proceeded to pull it out. As I got closer, I noticed that the answer to the aforementioned expression was displayed on the screen, in (yeah you guessed it right) decimal form! The button that had got pressed inwards was actually the ‘format change’ button, with some misleading labeling on it! I thanked my stars and grabbed the calculator in a bear hug (don’t ask why)!
As it turned out, my first date with the calculator had actually ended well, and it was the precursor to a vast legion of future dates with the cute little educational gadget.
I’ll say no more.