Monday, April 06, 2009

Today's Laugh

Two mathematicians, Joe and Richard, were having dinner in a restaurant in Portland, Oregon, and arguing about the average mathematical knowledge of the American public. Richard claimed that this average was woefully inadequate, while Joe maintained that it was surprisingly high.

"I'll tell you what," said Richard, "when I get back from the bathroom we'll ask our waitress a simple calculus question. If she gets it right, I'll pick up dinner. If not, you do. Okay?"

They agreed, but once he'd left, Joe called the waitress over. "When my friend comes back," he told her, "he's going to ask you a question. You should respond 'one-third x cubed' no matter what the question is. Got that? There's five bucks in it for you." She happily agreed to the gag.

Richard returned from the men's room and called the waitress over. "The food was wonderful," he started. "Incidentally, do you know what the integral of x-squared is?"

The waitress looked startled, then pensive, almost pained. She looked around the room, at her feet, and made gurgling noises. (Joe was starting to sweat.) Finally she said, "Ummm, one-third x cubed?"

Joe beamed in relief as an astonished Richard paid the check and an irritated waitress muttered under her breath, " ... plus a constant."

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