What’s eating me? A word problem that’s WASL worthy


Now that school is in full swing it’s time to start prepping for the WASL.

Some people don’t appreciate the WASL because it turns education into a yearlong prep for a two-week test. I say, why not embrace this preparatory trend and turn our entire existence into assessment practice.

Let’s be honest, little Jimmy ain’t going to meet or exceed his math standards watching Spongebob Squarepants reruns.

With this in mind, I’ve turned today’s column into a word problem. For those of you unfamiliar with word problems, they usually involve train travel or fruit disbursement. Word problems demonstrate how everyday people can use everyday math to solve never-going-to-happen problems.

For example, if I ever have a strong desire to track fruit disbursement among friends, I have the necessary skills to determine varying fruit totals. Never will I fear the answer to the age old question, “How many apples will Doug have left?” My answer to “How will Doug get out of debt?” is less certain.

So here it goes.

Doug weighs 251 pounds. Doug desires to lose 20 pounds in the next three months. To help with his weight loss objectives, Doug purchases one box of low calorie granola bars. Each granola bar is said to contain 90 calories. There are six bars in one box.

Doug finds that he is hungry, but it is not yet time for dinner. To curb his cravings, he decides to eat one of his low calorie granola bars. After consuming his first bar, Doug notices that his snacking desire has only intensified. The potent sweetness of the weight loss bar has activated Doug’s salivary glands. Fortunately, each bar has such a low calorie count that Doug determines it is safe to eat a second bar.

Hunger persists

After consuming his second bar, Doug realizes his hunger has not subsided. Doug also realizes that dinner time is a long way away. To overcome the distance between Doug’s hunger and the dinner table, Doug decides to expand the caloric intake of his snack break. Once again noting the low caloric count of each bar, Doug consumes one more overly sweet, low calorie, granola bar.

It is at this point Doug notices his snack break has morphed into a mini meal. Even so, Doug has an ever increasing desire to eat just one more low calorie, diet assisting, granola bar.

After some quick calculations, he determines that ingesting one more bar might seem excessive but the total caloric count will still be lower than if he consumes two donuts or a bag of chips. Doug quickly downs his fourth bar as he ponders the logic of this reasoning.

By the time Doug finishes his fourth bar, he comes to the sudden realization that instead of eating an in between meals snack, he has actually consumed an early dinner. Seeing that his appetite curbing nibble has turned into supper, Doug eats one more bar to seal the deal.

This leaves one last, weight loss supporting, super sweet, low calorie, granola bar in the box. Verging on a sugar-induced comma, Doug devours the final bar in silent shame. He quickly disposes of the box. The question remains: How many pounds will Doug lose if he continues in this weight loss activity?

I’m having a tough time answering this question. When I went to school, the WASL had not yet been invented. If you think you know the answer, shoot me an e-mail with your address. Anyone who gets the right answer will receive a free, 90 calorie, super sweet, weight loss preventing granola bar. Or at least the wrapper.

Doug Bursch is the pastor of Evergreen Foursquare Church. Evergreen meets Sundays at 10 a.m. at the Riverside High School Theater. He can be reached at www.yesevergreen.org or evergreenlife@mac.com.