My World of Numbers

Describe the world you come from — for example, your family, community or school — and tell us how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

As a kid, I loved traffic jams, since they meant playing ‘The License Plate Game’ with my dad. The rules are simple: chose a license plate on a car and find a meaning or a pattern in those numbers and letters. For example, if a woman in her mid thirties has a license plate number that ends with, let’s say, 87, try to figure out what those numbers stand for. She looks too old to be born in ’87 and too young to have given birth in that year. It could be her anniversary, but she’s not wearing a ring. If you rule out most possibilities, proceed to convert the letters into numbers (A=1, B=2) and try to find a pattern in those seemingly random numbers. The game made it seem like traffic jams didn't last long enough.

My father has a near eidetic memory which never fails to amaze me. He remembers, even at the age of 65, the ticket number of the train ticket he used when he was seven. He would have gone far, as a mathematics professor or a financial analyst, had he not dropped out of high school due to financial difficulties.

In many ways, I am similar to my father. I’m in the same situation he was in 50 years ago: leaving education, despite natural talents, sets an example of what I should never do. After school, I tutor kids for a few...

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