Fuzzy Math

The Puzzler

RAY: This is from my fuzzy math series. It was sent in by Dave Atkins. On a recent Saturday afternoon, I saw a boy and his mother at the neighborhood diner where I often go for lunch. From my vantage point I could see they were working on some arithmetic problems. The problems seemed simple enough and the kid was getting all the correct answers. For example, the first one was 25 + 8 and he wrote down 33. And the next one was 12 + 5 and he wrote down 17. The next was 35 + 13 and he wrote 48. Then his mother posed the last two problems. 45 - 8. The boy said 47 but I thought the answer was 37. The next one was 42 + 15. The boy said 43. I thought it should have been 57. His mother accepted both of those answers. When I saw how the kid was dressed, I did too. What was going on?

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