The Tyranny Of Adding Two Plus Two

Conversations With My Daughter — Jilly Nines


“Yes, Jilly?”

“Does two plus two always equal four?”

“Yes, honey.”

“Well, on the bus today, Robert said two plus two equals three.”

“You know that it’s four Jilly.”

“Yes, but Robert said if I was going to be his friend that I had to say that two plus two equals three.”

“I think that Robert may have been teasing you.”

“But I want to be his friend, Daddy.”

“You can still be his friend.”

“Yes! So two plus two can equal three and I can be Robert’s friend?”

“The only problem Jilly. . .”

“Yes, Daddy?”

“If you give Robert two apples on Monday and two apples on Tuesday, and then when he pays you back, he only gives you three apples, will you be unhappy?”

“Why would I be unhappy?”

“Because you gave him two plus two and only got three back. You gave more than you got in return.”


“Yes, Jilly?”

“Isn’t that the way everything works?”

Additional conversations with my daughter are on Medium in Tasting Ants and other stories.