It’s that time again.

Dear Conlan,

I’ve been having issues with my… you know, my

area. I tried to tell my mom about it, but I was too embarrassed. What should I do?Sincerely,

Burning in Burlingame

You might be surprised, Burning, but I actually get this question fairly often. For some reason, people feel like they can talk to me about their geometry problems. And they certainly can; I never judge.

But before I answer your question, I should explain it to readers who may not have dealt with these issues.

What Burning is talking about can happen to anybody if they’re not careful. Everyone likes equations, but sometimes people like them so much that they forget that math isn’t a toy. It’s a tool. And, as with any tool, a calculator is considered cheating. So, what inevitably happens is, some kids who don’t know any better get together and start talking about logarithms and functions of x, and before you know it you’re dealing with a raging case of calculus. And of course no one wants to admit to doing calculus, but sometimes that’s the only way to figure things out if you’re not dealing with geometric shapes, you know?

In conclusion, the current state of education, alien abductions, etc.

Thanks for writing, Burning. And remember, everyone: the only “stupid” question is one that isn’t asked by a smart person.