01 May 2005
Years ago, as an under grad, I balanced my checkbook with an abacus. My roommates were mystified. Why didn't I use a calculator? they asked. This is more fun, I said. We were all math majors, but they didn't get it. I liked the feeling the abacus gave of seeing the bare bones of a calculation, almost like an X-ray. My abacus was made of brass and mounted on a green marble base. The beads made a pleasant clinking sound as I moved them on the bars. I felt ancient using it. Like I had witnessed the beginning of time.