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somewhere in that ancient mystic trinity

by mg at 02:52 AM on May 11, 2002

I was talking to someone today and somehow we got onto the topic of math. Considering I went to a high school for nerds (it was the basis for the school in Head of the Class), so a lot of my conversations end up about math. It is just one of those things about me.

Parenthetically, there is this folk singer called Dan Bern. He sounds a lot like Bob Dylan (only understandable), he was discovered by Ani DiFranco (and often tours with her), and he writes songs about what itís like to be a cow, getting abducted by aliens, dogs with opposable thumbs, and of course, love and god and other stuff that people write songs about. Anyway, he came by and played the M-Shop, the club I worked at in college, and where I frequently saw Space and Shar, but never actually talked to them.

Before the first time he came to Ames Iíd never heard any of his music before. When he started playing, I instantly fell in love with his voice, the fact he is a folk singer who came on stage with a wife beater and the muscles to make it work. As the night wore on, I fell in love with his words. At one point he sang the lines:

I'm walking down the line A line has no actual width, that's impossible

It certainly is not one of his best songs, but itís a math joke, see. How could I not love it?

I have this urge to explain why the joke is funny, but it would involve geometry theory, and anyone still reading at this point would be frightened away for good. The important part of the story is that I was the only one in the crowd of 150 college students who laughed. Well, I wasnít the only person. There was one other person who laughed, who, luckily, was the girl with me at the time.

Anyway, the point is that I math jokes really get me. Not to mention chicks who like math jokes. I make them around here pretty frequently. Math jokes, not chicks. But in the flesh world I wouldnít dare make a math joke. I just know that most of the general population is staring at their computer screens with a range of emotions covering everything from bemused wonderment to pure disgust. I just couldnít bear to have someone look at me that way in real life.

Now, getting back to the actual point of the story, I was talking to someone yesterday and we got on the topic of math. She said she had a favorite math problem, which I found buttonishly cute. She said her favorite math problem is 9x9=81. I regret now that I didnít ask her why, but I was too distracted by the awful math joke that immediately popped into my head - the awful math joke that I will impart on all of you momentarily.

First, I need to make it known that I donít tell jokes. When I hear a joke, I immediately forget it. And I donít come up with my own jokes. But, if in the course of conversation, something I say happens to strike someone as funny, well, that makes me awfully happy. I donít think of myself as amusing, but apparently I am. And the better I know someone, the freer I am to let out whatever silly little thing pops into my head at the moment. Under the right conditions, I can make a person cringe with laughter.

Now, the person I was talking to, well, I donít know her very well. But she started with the math jokes (if having a favorite math equation can be considered a joke), so I felt comfortable enough to share. When she mentioned her favorite math equation, I broke out with this:

I donít have a favorite math equation, but I do have an equation I donít really like that much. It is 12x12=144. I think itís just gross.

Now, Iím well aware that what I said is as far removed from funny as any statement in the history of mankind. But, she laughed. Maybe 1+1 equals ďmg wont be lonely for much longerĒ? It looks like things are adding up that way.

comments (8)

"That's just gross". bwaah!! Ok, I'm sorry. My inner math geek thinks that's a pretty hilarious joke.

by skits at May 11, 2002 1:09 PM

Yeah, it is too bad you are taken Skits.

by mg at May 12, 2002 12:18 AM

I didn't get it until I thought of bottlerockets.

by MrBlank at May 12, 2002 2:15 AM

*sniff sniff*

I still don't get it. I wish I knew math.

by Jesus at May 12, 2002 11:55 PM

Rest your weary brains guys.
Half a gross is 72 (a gross being 144)

by em at May 13, 2002 7:41 AM

What's the deal with math you say?

Here's the deal with math: Math can be useful in many applications, such as shipbuilding, courting (19th century style), hard sciences, soft sciences, and non sciences, which is similar in sound to nonsense.

For example, if you are laying the keel of a NUCLEAR BASS BOAT while watching your courting candle burn down and discussing Fermat's First Therom (2 + 2 = 5), you need to be able to compute the volume of an arbitrary solid.

This is accomplished by placing the solid in a bathtub and measuring the amount of water displaced.

An interesting fact: Boeing owns the largest building in the world, which contains the largest bathtub in the world. How else would they measure the volume of a 777-300?

In conclusion, math is fun, unless it's hard.

by MathPerson at May 13, 2002 8:51 AM

Ahhahahaha. Ahaha. Aha. A. Gross. That was clever, really clever. Especially the part, where you said it.

by jadedju at May 13, 2002 2:39 PM

and for those highway folks gross weights are even more fun! (for those who confuse easy) :-) The limit of a vehicle's "gross" weight (in most states) is 80,000 pounds which is ironic since half of "the" gross is 72,000 ok ok I will shut up, but I got it and no it was not knee jerking funny but it was cute. and had I known you enjoyed math so much I would have inundated you with tons of "fun" things I am working on!

P.S. if 144 is "gross" what does that make 12 dozen eggs? (equally as gross?) *wink*

by Pristine at May 18, 2002 12:12 AM

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