Probability of Probably Not Grasping Probability Equation

There was a 50% chance my parents were right:  I’d need Algebra in my adult life.

Until today, with this Trifextra challenge, they were wrong.

There’s a 100% probability I’ll never tell them.


This is my entry for the Trifextra weekend challenge.  Here’s the challenge they gave:

Andy Rooney created something called “The 50-50-90 rule: anytime you have a 50-50 chance of getting something right, there’s a 90% probability you’ll get it wrong.”  We want you to give us your own probability equation.  Use whichever numbers suit you, and make it about whatever you like, but give us something to think about.  In 33 words, of course.

I’m mathematically challenged.  I barely made it through the required math courses for my degree and I still count on my fingers.  Imagine my horror to see the Triefextra weekend challenge involved writing a probability equation.  A probability equation on a writing website?  That’s just cruel!

The backhand of the challenge was softened by the fact I got my first ever first place win for Truth of Promises, which I submitted for the weekday challenge.  I appreciate everyone who stopped by to read it.

65 thoughts on “Probability of Probably Not Grasping Probability Equation

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 8:22 PM

      Hahahha! When running away, there is a good chance it’s wrong. Thanks for the laugh, Phil!

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 8:23 PM

      Ah, another math whiz? Welcome to the club, Braintomahawk!

  1. Draug419 November 9, 2012 / 11:53 AM

    This is cute and funny 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 8:23 PM

      Thanks, Draug. In the absence of knowledge, I offer laughter.

  2. lumdog November 9, 2012 / 1:01 PM

    Lol! There is a 100% probability that I like this.

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 8:24 PM

      Those are good odds 🙂 Glad you liked my probability equation, Lumdog!

  3. Kir Piccini November 9, 2012 / 1:04 PM


    never ever tell them!!!

    I liked this!

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 8:25 PM

      🙂 It’ll be my secret! I’m glad you stopped by, Kir!

  4. Linda Vernon November 9, 2012 / 1:06 PM

    Funny! And congrats on your win! Nicely done! 😀

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 8:26 PM

      Thanks so much, Linda. I was so surprised about the win!

  5. nrhatch November 9, 2012 / 1:28 PM

    Fun one . . .
    And go, you! You’re racking up the wins. 😀

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 8:29 PM

      Yeah, I’m back to silly for the weekend (it’s all I could do with a math-based challenge.) We’ll have to see what we come up with next week, Nancy. I’m curious about that one.

    • nrhatch November 10, 2012 / 8:06 AM

      Me too! It’s been awhile since I’ve collaborated with anyone on a writing project. I think it was back in 8th grade . . . 😉

      No, wait. It was Moot Court in Law School. You know . . . eons ago.

      I’m sure that working with you on the Trifecta Anniversary Challenge will be way more fun than writing a Moot Court brief (which wasn’t “brief” at all). 😀

      • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 10:03 AM

        I sure hope that we have more fun than writing a brief. I’ve never written one but I have a feeling it wouldn’t be good 🙂

  6. Carol Ann Hoel November 9, 2012 / 1:53 PM

    I used algebra one time. I made a circular skirt for my daughter. I needed to know how much longer to make each layer so they would graduate methodically. Ha! It worked. I’m sure I could have found a pattern rather than use algebra. It’s a good thing I didn’t need it again. I probably would have done it wrong. I’ve used algebra so few times that I’ve forgotten how.

    I think the guy that said if we had a 50/50 chance of getting it right, we would guess wrong first 90% of the time. I’d like to know how he figured that out. I think it’s true. I almost always get lost while driving. When I have two ways to turn, wouldn’t that mean that I’d have a 50/50 chance to guess correctly? I’m NEVER right when I guess. I thought I could cheat the odds once. I decided which way I should go and went the other way, and I was still wrong. What’s with that? Blessings to you, Janna…

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 9:28 PM

      I’m impressed. I could never make a skirt like that – especially with the use of Algebra. I’ve found the same thing when driving, Carol. It sure is frustrating when you try the reverse and go against your initial reaction and it still messes you up! Thanks for commiserating and sharing your probability experience.

  7. Stephanie B. (@B4Steph) November 9, 2012 / 2:55 PM

    Congrats on the well-deserved win, Janna! As for Algebra – you used it very wisely in this Trifextra. So maybe they were right after all, but I wouldn’t tell them that either. 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 9:31 PM

      Thanks, Stephanie. I enjoyed your story, too! I guess I can write about Algebra, but I just can’t do it 🙂

  8. rebecca2000 November 9, 2012 / 3:06 PM

    Congrats. It was the man trying to stick it to you 😉 Math is mean.

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 9:46 PM

      Hahaha! Algebra is intimidating, but I never knew it to be mean 🙂 I’ll watch my back, Rebecca!

  9. chlost November 9, 2012 / 3:35 PM

    My soon-to-be son in law is a math professor. He would be so disappointed to hear of your math disgust. He claims that our teachers let us down, as if taught correctly, math is fun… love it until they get to school. In any event, congratulations on your win. And good luck on this one.

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 9:58 PM

      Oh, I’m not disgusted with math, Chlost…but I do get disgusted at the inability of my brain to grasp mathematical concepts. I didn’t mind math until they threw letters into the mix 🙂 I hope your son-in-law is able to keep people inspired to do math.

  10. E November 9, 2012 / 5:22 PM

    hahhaha so funny! i purposely chosen my college major because i thought it would have nothing to do with math, but i was SO WRONG. i had to take 2 DREADFUL semesters of stats. time wasted that i could never get back.

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 10:06 PM

      I did the same thing, Estelle! I wanted to be a pharmacist, but changed to Psychology when math and chemistry got to me. Still had to go up to Brief Calculus…and I got 2 years of a foreign language, too. I’m glad you made it through stats…tough class (I only had one semester.)

  11. kgwaite November 9, 2012 / 6:18 PM

    Math. Ugh. Dropped out of linear algebra and haven’t looked back since.

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 10:15 PM

      I don’t remember linear algebra, Kelly. I wouldn’t look back, either!

  12. November 9, 2012 / 9:41 PM

    I totally had to get Scott help me wrap my head around mine, and I’m actually good at Algebra, but not math in general. I knew what I wanted, not how to make it sound like an equation.

    • jannatwrites November 9, 2012 / 10:20 PM

      I had a few ideas I had to ditch because I confused myself. I’ll be curious to read yours, Jester Queen.

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 10:09 AM

      I’m sorry your folks passed away-but it does help with not having to reveal something. Maybe you aren’t the Protestant Barbra Streisand, but I think you are a wonderful you . Always glad when you stop by, Amy 🙂

  13. pattyabr November 10, 2012 / 6:07 AM

    Congrats on your submission win! I never heard of that saying by Andy Rooney but I like it. I have to calculate things in my work life but I am the most mathematically challenged in a family of engineers. I am not an engineer.

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 10:17 AM

      Thanks, Patty! I have to calculate things on occasion, too, but it takes me much longer than it would for normal person to do it. At least you are able to get by even if you aren’t an engineer. I guess that’s why you picked a different occupation 🙂

  14. Libby November 10, 2012 / 6:09 AM

    A whole little story in 33 words – well done! I was surprised by this probability assignment too! I wonder how the judges come up with these things!

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 10:20 AM

      I’m glad you liked it, Libby. I hope the math thing is just a fluke. It shows just how much I don’t know 🙂

  15. Michael November 10, 2012 / 6:50 AM

    I wouldn’t tell them either. 😛

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 10:23 AM

      A little dishonest, maybe…but I-told-you-so’s are just awful, Michael 🙂

  16. Eric Storch November 10, 2012 / 8:20 AM

    After high school, I thought I was done with algebra forever. Then I had kids…

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 10:30 AM

      That’s the truth, Eric. My ten-year-old has taken to asking me to check his math homework. I’m smart enough to know it’s for the entertainment value of watching me figure out what a least common denominator is.

  17. Ruby Manchanda November 10, 2012 / 10:39 AM

    So it is an open secret now and I suppose all of us are morally bound to keep it 🙂
    I absolutely adored this post.

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 10:33 AM

      I would appreciate it if you kept this secret, though you don’t have an obligation to do so 🙂

      I’m glad you liked this, Ruby. It was a fun one, but then again, they all are 🙂

  18. Debbie November 10, 2012 / 1:24 PM

    GOOD for you!! My dad always told me I needed to take a typing class. Just in case, you know. I laughed at the suggestion. Who could have predicted I’d end up as a journalist and writer?!

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 10:39 AM

      Hehe..there’s no getting around that one, Debbie..he was right. (I thought it was stupid when they made me choose typing as an elective my sophomore year. They win that one as well :))

      Funny how we realize they knew more than we ever gave them credit for.

  19. Amy @BettyRants November 10, 2012 / 2:47 PM

    I am one of the most math-challenged people I have ever known. It used to drive my dad nuts. You just made my day!

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 10:44 AM

      Glad you can relate to this, Amy my dad would get so frustrated with me, too. I feel just awful for him 🙂

  20. diannegray November 10, 2012 / 9:48 PM

    A BIG congratulations on the win, Janna!

    There are three types of people in this world – those who know math and those who don’t (LOL!) 😀

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 10:46 AM

      Thanks, Dianne! Your comment made me laugh. It added up just fine to me, so I read one more time using my fingers 🙂

  21. deanabo November 11, 2012 / 7:13 AM

    Wonderful! I never understood algebra either.

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 10:48 AM

      Word problems were the worst for me. It is a little comforting to know that not the only one who struggled. Glad you stopped by, Deanabo!

  22. Sandra November 11, 2012 / 3:36 PM

    Hahaha! You don’t have to tell them if you never preach the same to your kids! Pay it forward? 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 7:41 PM

      So, it cancels out? I’ll have to think about that, Sandra 🙂 Thanks for stopping by to read this one!

  23. Rog Rites (@RogRites) November 11, 2012 / 3:55 PM

    I think this extends to many things children don’t tell their parents (written with the wisdom gained from both positions).

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 7:43 PM

      Hehehe. Yeah, there are things we just don’t admit. Glad you stopped by!

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 11:37 PM

      You guys put the ‘challenge’ in writing challenge this week. All this math gave me a headache 🙂

  24. pattisj November 11, 2012 / 11:09 PM

    Congratulations, Janna! Ha, the math came around to get you this week, I see.

    • jannatwrites November 11, 2012 / 11:38 PM

      Thanks, Patti! The only thing worse if they would’ve had something physics-based. I took that class in high school and ended up with a D. It wasn’t for lack of effort 🙂

  25. Imelda November 12, 2012 / 12:44 PM

    Since I am a little Math- challenged,among other things, I won’t dare to comment. 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 12, 2012 / 7:12 PM

      I doubt you are as challenged as I am, Imelda!

  26. Imelda November 12, 2012 / 12:46 PM

    Yey! Congratulations for the first place finish. It was an utterly beautiful piece. 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 12, 2012 / 7:14 PM

      Thank you so much for reading, Imelda. I’m glad this story was liked by so many. (That doesn’t happen often :))

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