My father loved jokes and pranks, both good and . . . well, awful.
One of the worst of them involves an old hayseed whose son has just come back to Dogpatch (or wherever) from his freshman year of college, the first in his family to get so much education, back in the day when attending college was a real rarity anyhow.
The proud father wants to show him off a bit.
So, in a gathering of a few of his friends (maybe in the barber shop?), the father turns to his boy and says “Speak some algebree, son!”
The boy is surprised by the request, but dutifully replies with pi r2.
(Sorry. I can’t seem to represent it quite right here. But you get the drift; it’s the formula for the area bounded by a circle.)
The boy’s father is deflated, utterly mortified.
“No, son,” he says, the pain audible in his voice. ”Pie are round. Cornbread are square.”
Yes, yes. I know. Excruciatingly awful.
But I’m happy to report that it lives on, nonetheless. Last night, over a Thai dinner in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood, the girlfriend of a family member told me that, having heard the joke from him (he having heard it from my father), she told it via email to some of her co-workers at a certain company headquartered in nearby Redmond, Washington, who, shall we say, have assimilated it and continued to pass it on themselves.
My father would have been very pleased.
Posted from Seattle, Washington.