They always said that to me. “It’s just simple algebra, Barbara.” I never saw it that way. Even when I thought I “got it” it would elude me, slipping off into some recess where I could not reach it when I needed it. My junior high school algebra teacher Mr. Quizdorf was a kind man, and he must have been a very good teacher – he encouraged me until he saw that all I was actually learning was not algebra, but an unhealthy angst that is not good to foster in that age group. So he set me up with a tutor. So once a week, I would go dutifully to the home of Sandy and Bunker Hill where Sandy would make my dinner (meatloaf, most often) and try to teach me the fundamentals of algebra. Always in the center of the dining table, she had a bowl of red hots. (See? You knew I’d get to the point sooner or later…) I always associate algebra with red hots. I saw a bag of them the other day and bought them. Put them in a bowl in the middle of the table. LOVE that I do not have to solve for “a” to eat them. Now I simply solve for red hots. I do not show my work. I still have no, shall we say “affinity?” for algebra. But I love red hots and think fondly about both Mr. Quizdorf and Sandy Hill. The misery of barely making it through that class, I generally leave in the same recess as the algebra.