# The Fundamental Equation of Relationships

Today I would like to talk to you about the fundamental equation of relationships. The equation is for use in determining whether a relationship, be it with another person, a job, or what have you, costs more than it's worth. You'd think this would be obvious. But no, a relationship is by definition something one is attached to. It may suck your blood, drain your checking account, or kill your sense of humor, joy, or pleasure, but it's your relationship. Or more to the point, it's yours. Therefore the equation is so useful that we ought to practice it often even when we don't have one.

```
(fucking you are getting) = (fucking you are getting)

```

This is a nice concise expression and I have had no desire to exchange it for something like (fucking = shit) or (payoff = expense) because none of these express the basic ambiguity so well. If (fucking > fucking), then it's going well. If (fucking < fucking), it's time to bag. Probably. The equation may be best expressed over time, because if you've been on the positive end of a relationship and it dips negative for a little bit, you aren't going to run off and drop it, are you? I suppose I need an integral, but it's been too long since I've done any calculus.

So any time someone tells me about their relationship and how they are having a crummy time, and how their boyfriend has a dick bigger around than their wrist and no sensititivity and they can't even buy any KY in Texas and they never come from it anyway and sometimes he's nice but usually he's snide, I ask, "Just what are you getting out of this relationship that you are still in it?" Sometimes people even do the calculations themselves. But sometimes they don't, or they do and figure that being miserable is its own reward.

That brings me to my C/Unix class.

I have another class at Northeastern that I enjoy, but the C class is just a dud. The instructor doesn't speak English too well, and he's poorly organized and gives us large amounts of incomprehensible homework that I couldn't do at all if I didn't have many patient friends who program for a living.

We had a midterm a couple of weeks ago. I got a 66.5. I believe that but for the wiseass who got a 100, I had the highest grade in the class. I am learning something here. It's not what the instructor intended.

So after a weekend of putting it off because I was too busy having a birthday, I sat down and tried to do the latest annoying assignment and burst into tears.

This was not entirely because I'm premenstrual. Nope. This was partly because I've been under a lot of stress and most of that is great big, impersonal bone-breaking stress and the C homework is a small and very personal stress that is represented entirely by smeary typo-ridden xeroxes that I could, if I felt like it, light on the stove and burn over the sink.

Now I've put up with a lot of things in my life that annoyed me. Like jobs, for instance. You can't get through life without aggravation, or you'd get bored. What I'm starting to resent is that I paid \$600 for this particular aggravation. Totally nonconsensual, man.

So why don't I drop the class? Cognitive dissonance?

Or maybe I'm a little out of practice with the equation. There are some times when it's not a good idea to check and see if you're getting a payoff. Jobs and relationships, maybe. Life in general, no. If you don't like your life, you don't get another one, so if the payoff has been negative for too long you just don't want to know about it.

Or maybe masochism is getting to be a habit.

It's not due until wednesday. Really.