The News According to Hughes

I'm As Smart As A 4th Grader

by Spencer Hughes

28 February 2007

Last night was the debut of Fox's "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" but I conveniently was too tired to watch it. All those lousy, over-rated male singers on "American Idol" exhausted me. Or maybe it's just that I didn't want to see how dumb I am.

I went to the show's website and took a 10 question test. Apparently I am as smart as a FOURTH grader. I admit, I didn't know that a heptagon is a shape with 7 sides. I guessed 9. And I had NO CLUE that a "gross" equals ONE DOZEN dozen. But at least I DID know that Representatives in America serve 2 years and the Earth's moon does NOT emit its own light.

The other day I was trying to help my 10-year-old with his 4th grade math homework. What a mistake. Fractions, mixed numbers, and greatest common factors made my mind melt. I wondered for a moment how I ever got out of grade school. How did I forget how to do all of this stuff? And don't even get me started on his math word problems. I seriously thought I would pop a blood vessel over some of them. Johnny has a piece of wood that is twice as long as Mary's, but 1/5 the size of Ted's. What kind of Sushi does Colleen like? It might as well have been that mind numbing. So I deferred those problems to his mom and went off to play my Nintendo or read a book.

But I am just a talk show host. I wonder how our elected officials or rocket scientists would have fared on those quizzes or on the show last night. And does it matter in the whole scheme of things? Will anyone die if I don't know what a "gross" is? Or if someone thinks Argentina is bigger than Brazil? It's all just trivia anyway, right?

By the way, Colleen's favorite Sushi is maguro. And her stick is the greatest common factor in her school.