Friday, June 3, 2016

Math, Or Something Like It (Part Two)

When I told my buddy Maloney that I was reading a math book for fun, he asked me: "Are you drunk?"
     Have I ever mentioned that it takes my friend an hour and a half to watch 60 Minutes?
     (See? That joke couldn't have been written without mathematics.)
     I told him no, and then casually mentioned how a lady in a nearby town received a three million dollar sexual harassment settlement.
     "What does THAT have to do with anything?" he wanted to know.
     I then reminded him how, when he started jogging, he once told a female co-worker who had expressed interest in joining him: "If you want to go running with me, you'd better not pass out, because I'll make sure you wake up with your shorts around your ankles."
     Three million dollars.
     That's a hard way to learn about math.
     Maloney still didn't understand the importance of mathematics.
     "When do you ever use it?" he challenged me.
     "You use it everyday," I told him, and then was about to explain how , say, you invite a friend of yours and his family over for a small get-together. Let's call that friend Maloney, because that happens to be his name. After you've made your plans on what you're going to serve, how much you're going to cook, and you've gone to the grocery store and bought everything you need, say that friend's wife calls and asks if she can bring a friend and that friend's family (two parents plus two children equals four). That's the original number of people who were invited over for Easter (n) plus four (4).
n + 4 = y
       So you recalculate, return to the store, and re-empty your wallet even further. And then, a few days later, that friend's daughter calls and asks if she can bring a friend and that friend's family (another two parents plus two children equals an additional four).
n + (4 x 2) = y
       And so you recalculate, return to the store, re-spend even more money, and, when you get back, you find Maloney's mother-in-law sitting at your table... eating.
      "I don't know why she's here," your wife whispers to you, but it's apparent that Maloney invited her too, probably to get her out of his hair.
     So that's now...
n + (4 x 2) + 1 = y
     "Y," as in: "Why are there so many people coming over for what was supposed to be a small get-together?"
     But I didn't tell him that. Instead I explained to him that with mathematics, I could stop bullying.
     "Impossible," Maloney sniffed, dismissively.
     "The mathematical formula is this: The shortest distance between a bully and stopping him is a straight line from my fist to his face."
     "Jesus Christ," Maloney exclaimed, not getting the joke, "that makes no sense."
     "Watch your mouth," I told my friend. "Today, you make Jesus cry. Tomorrow, he makes YOU cry.
     That's mathematics, too.
American Chimpanzee

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