Café Calculus

Issue 10 and Volume 107.

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

“I’ll tell you what,” said Bob. “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?”

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Joe agreed, but once Bob had 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 the question is. Got it? There’s twenty bucks in it for you.”

The waitress happily agreed to the gag.

Bob returned from the bathroom and called the waitress over. “The food was wonderful,” he stated. “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, made gurgling noises (Joe was starting to sweat) and finally said, “Umm, one-third x cubed?”

Joe beamed in relief as an astonished Bob paid the check and a clearly irritated waitress muttered under her breath, …plus a constant.”

Editor’s note: Corporate communications has evolved to the point where it seems the highest and most common use of e-mail is the dissemination of jokes and humor stories to business acquaintances around the world. Power Engineering has collected a number of such communications from many anonymous e-mail sources and will present them in this space for your enjoyment. We welcome your contributions of engineering, technology or business related humorous pieces to [email protected], but please do not send copyrighted material.