The Hellhole

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A friend and I were exchanging e-mails and she mentioned helping her stepdaughter study for a test, what they were learning and how she was quizzing the girl. That got me thinking back and wondering about the most useless thing(s) that I'd been forced to study in school. The first idea that leapt to mind was Geometry, probably because I freaking HATED it. I realize that there are professions where Geometry is necessary or even handy but honestly, as an adult I have never, not once, needed to know how to graph a parabola or calculate the volume of a stinkin' cone. Once your water gets almost to the top of your little paper cup, that's about all the volume the cone has, okay?

My friend replied that Geometry was good, but that diagramming sentences got her vote. "I suppose that as an exercise, it was helpful to identify the parts of the sentence. HOWEVER, I had an English teacher in both the 8th and 9th grade who was so into diagramming sentences that it seemed that was all we did all year long in her classes. I’m sure it wasn’t, but in retrospect it sure seems like it. Had to stand up at the board and diagram sentences like a mo-fo in her class!!!!!" I think she's on to something. I mean, sure, learning the parts of speech and proper grammar is very important, but I can't say I found drawing little slanty lines all over the place particularly helpful or edifying in that regard.

What do you think is the most useless thing you had to learn in school?


  • Geometry for me. I hated it also. Although it comes in handy in pool. I've also answered some geometry Jeopardy! questions.

    Physics was also not a favorite of mine. Stuff falls. If you throw it off a balcony it falls really fast. You can just watch David Letterman over the years to know that.

    By Blogger basil, at 5:26 PM  

  • I'm wracking my brains to come up with something (1) I learned in high school (2) that was actually useful. I liked some of the useless things, such as diagramming sentences (totally useless, and I went to grad school in linguistics), and geometric proofs. Physics, I was forced to memorize a bunch of stuff I never learned. I like Lisa's comment about physics! Sorry, I guess I can't add anything. Anything else must have been so useless that I've long since forgotten it completely.

    By Blogger Nancy, at 9:49 PM  

  • I've never had much use for Algebra, or any of the math I took in high school. I did good in Geometry, but I've never found a use for it in real life.

    By Blogger Alan, at 12:23 PM  

  • I liked math. History made me want to poke out my eyeballs. Writing history papers made me want to eat them. Sorry for the gross factor.

    By Blogger A Margarita, at 8:34 PM  

  • Uhm... I dug it all. Even the endless litany of who killed whom in what war seemed somehow useful to know.

    I suppose, if I had to choose, it would be most of PE. The best it ever got was a yoga segment in junior high and being allowed to choose freely, with the weight room as an option, in high school.

    By Anonymous Lachele, at 12:05 AM  

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