Chicago Shady Dealer

Fourth Year Math Major Forgets How to Read

What had previously been considered an un-losable skill, like riding a bike or swimming, has for the first time been proven to be losable. This past Monday, Ican Add became the first person in history to lose the ability to read. “The loss of the ability to read—what our team is tentatively  terming “disreadabula”, is an incident of extreme scientific interest, a phenomenon previously only theorized,” lead investigator Ben Maxwell said. Add’s disreadabula may only be the tip of the iceberg; in the time since the discovery of the illiteracy event, evidence of further illiteracy among other Math majors has also recently been found. 


“We started working with Ican more than two years ago, when he had just finished the Honors Analysis sequences, and was just starting Honors Basic Algebra I. It’s been quite a journey — we’ve been together for a long time,” Maxwell said to the Shady Dealer.


“At first, we just thought Ican was pretending. There’s nothing in his academic history that would suggest he can’t read. He got a 2380 on the SATs! But we ran some tests when he first came to us, and it was real: he could only recognize the Greek Alphabet. The conclusion we were eventually able to draw using MRI technology was that years of math classes had completely atrophied the part of his brain that handles natural language processing.”


Ican takes part in a rigorous program intended to re-familiarize him with the English language. “It’s quite a project to refamiliarize someone with all the nuances of natively-spoken English,” Maxwell said. “We started simple, having him equate familiar latex keywords like ‘\alpha’ with English letters like ‘A’. Our hope is that one day he’ll be able to read his diploma without any confusion.”


This article was read aloud to Ican.

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Editor-in-Chief, 2019-21