As we near the close of this doodlewash adventure, we have one of the last little things in this series in the form of a Little Professor. This was a backwards calculator that I had when I was a kid. Instead of giving you answers to mathematical equations, it gave you unsolved math problems and prompted you for the answer. If there was ever a way to make math fun, this little guy succeeded brilliantly.

I used to spend hours on this thing, staring at the little fuzzy numbers that would pop up on the LED screen. Little Professor gave you three chances to get the problem correct. Incorrect answers returned an “EEE” which I guess was a way of saying “Error” three times to ensure you felt like a proper idiot. After three “EEE’s” it would tell you the answer you should have entered were you not so regrettably stupid.

This strict teacher actually did his job quite well for me. I would eventually go on to become quite excellent in math and solve equations that were well beyond my little plastic teacher’s scope. I entered my senior year of high school signed up for college level Calculus and Physics when I suddenly had a life-altering ephiphany. I truly hated math. Like seriously depised it and found it impossibly boring. So I cancelled those classes and joined the Yearbook team and became a reporter on the school newspaper. Somewhere, my Little Professor is rolling in his LED grave, spitting “EEE’s” across his screen to share his disappointment in me.

Looking back, I have no regrets that I abandoned my math career. Since that time, I’ve never once needed anything more complex than what I learned from Little Professor in my life. But I sometimes wonder what I would have become if I hadn’t made such a drastic shift in my plans? No doubt, there would have been no Doodlewash and I certainly wouldn’t have had the chance to be a movie producer. Though, who knows? Becoming an astronaut might have been cool too.

What I do know is that I’ve spent a lifetime following my dreams and I can’t imagine living any other way. I’ve been called “lucky” to have a creative job and be doing what I love each day throughout my career, but it’s not something out of reach or unusual. Anybody can do what inspires them most. Sometimes you just have to risk getting a few “EEE’s” to discover the answer. And though I’m still not a math fan, that’s been a pretty valuable lesson I learned back then. All thanks to my tiny Little Professor.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Burnt Sienna, Pyrrol Red, Azo Yellow, Gamboge, Azo Orange, Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt Teal, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink and second pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


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29 thoughts on “Little Professor

  1. Thanks for sharing your story Charlie and the memorable little math professor. I too opted out of the math and went on pursue my creative career interests in school and never regretted it. Cheers 🍺!!

  2. What a hilarious gizmo! So cool! Oh, I so wish I’d had one of those. I loved maths until they started throwing letters in, which really was where the subject lost my heart I’m afraid. MATHS IS NUMBERS – GET WITH THE PROGRAM. I somehow left with a B, but boy did I struggle toward the end.

    The shape and display has the look of a smaller, wackier Speak and Spell/Speak and Maths, which I did have, or rather was handed down from my siblings. Remember those? I loved them!

  3. I could have used the Little Professor when I was a kid! I disliked math in school. My dad was an Algebra teacher which meant my sis and I were supposed to be good in this subject. But neither of us carried that gene I’m afraid. Your doodlewash looks A+ my friend! 😊👍🌟🎨

  4. Oh yes, we had one of those…. And another similar model, but not so fun looking, there was also one that you could slot cards in and play a tune, by following the coloured squares, was it music man, or something? No I got it major man?? Oh something, grrrr. An aspiring astronaut, now that would require an award for the little prof, I guess the Spirograph, or that red toy with white turn knobs, that drew….ish, then you shake it clean, was more your sort of toy, now what was that called?

  5. OMG Charlie! The memories!!! Oh, man! We really WERE separated at birth. I LOVED my Little Professor. hmm and went on to become a CPA but never connected the two! And what a terrific rendering of it, OMG forgot all about this one! Only other one I remember loving possibly more was the Merlin game. Do you remember that? Wow, thanks for the memories, Charlie! It’s good you ditched math because you are really in the right business, bro!

  6. “You never work a day in your life when you have a job you love”. And you are living that comment.
    I did take all those math classes for my career choice, and I mostly liked what I did but now that I’m retired, I’m doing what I truly love.
    Life’s lessons
    Ps, I never liked math either.

  7. How fun! You know, calculus changed my life. It made me truly love math and helped me understand physics better. It looks as though I’m going to be teaching calculus soon.. I could use Little Professor myself!

    I really enjoyed your doodlewashes this month! Loved seeing all your favorite childhood toys. Look forward to seeing what you come up with next! ❤️

  8. My daughter had a little computer that clapped when she got the right answer. I can’t remember what it did when she was wrong…but it kept her busy.
    As to life: always follow your heart! (K)

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