Basics, Numbers, Operations, Simplify, Solve, Tangent

PEMDAS: Die, Sally, Die

We here at 11 Betties have one burning question: Who the eff is Aunt Sally? You know, THE Aunt Sally, of PEMDAS fame. The Aunt Sally who will. not. die.

What’s PEMDAS? Quickie review: PEMDAS is an age-old acronym created by SMOG (Some Mathematical Old Guy) to help remind MOATs (Mathematicians Of All Types) of the OOOH (Order Of Operations, Holler). PEMDAS stands for Parentheses, Multiplication, Division, Addition, and Subtraction, meaning that if your math problem has all of these things in it, you should start by dealing with stuff inside the parentheses first, and then end with addition and/or subtraction. We think that the proper acronym for the OOOH should actually be BPEMDAS, because in really fancy simplification problems, there are usually some Braces {} or Brackets [] in addition to Parentheses (), i.e. {3[6(2+5)-20]}. Bam.

So how are you supposed to remember a collection of letters like PEMDAS?  With a catchy little phrase, natch. So SMOG came up with “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally,” and math teachers of the world seem to think that’s catchy enough to last FOREVER. (Just to put things into perspective, imagine playing “Call Me Maybe” a BILLION TIMES over the course of EONS. We don’t care how cute Carly Rae’s bangs are: you’d want her to die, too.)

We did a little research and found out that Aunt Sally is most likely a reference to Tom Sawyer’s silly aunt in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, described as “one of the most mixed-upest looking persons I ever did see…” (Yup, mixed-upest. Thanks, Mark Twain.) Anyway, Aunt Sally is gullible, Tom takes advantage of her, and then he feels bad. Which he shouldn’t because little did he know that she’d become an IMMORTAL CELEBRITY in the math world.

Remember this photo that went viral about a year ago?

We’re actually fans of whoever the kid is who had the balls to write this. We would have given her an A purely for originality. We can hear the rage in her thoughts as she writes: “It’s 2012 and I refuse to bow down to Dead Dear Aunt Sally any longer! Arrrrrrrrr!!!”  Ok, mayyybe those were our thoughts. But still.

To come up with a replacement for Aunt Sally, we first plugged BPEMDAS into an Acronym Maker. This produced some really creepy results, the very first of which was: Beefy Pinky Encore Moon Democratic Attention Sorcerer. We also got: Blinding Participant Exercise Mineral Dial Anything Strawberry and Broad Petal Enigma Monolith Dagger Anesthetic Stiffy. Whoa. We’re not even going to delve into analyzing meanings because we’d be here forever. They’re all pretty awesomely strange and will hopefully live in our worst nightmares the titles of folk-metal albums in the very near future.

So, we decided to come up with a few of our own. We would love your feedback. We would also love you to send us yours, either from that creepy Acronym Maker or ones you’ve made on your own. Email us at [email protected] or leave ‘em in the Comments below! But first, Please Excuse Our — oh for chrissakes, just enjoy.

PEMDAS: Die, Sally, Die
Harry and a puppy. Never gets old.
PEMDAS: Die, Sally, Die
Michelle Pfeiffer = our favorite Catwoman.
PEMDAS: Die, Sally, Die
Oh, Ryan Lochte.
PEMDAS: Die, Sally, Die
‘Nuff said. Original image via Ivory Jar.

143, B.