Friday, September 2, 2016

Reciting Pi

A short while ago, one of my readers commented and suggested I share a funny/embarrassing story on my blog from time to time. While thinking back to my college years, I came up with a "humorous happening" that I thought you all might enjoy.

This story actually starts in third grade and finishes in my freshman year of university. My third grade teacher did a wonderful job making learning fun. She was always coming up with competitions and other incentives to help us memorize multiplication tables and important facts.

One day, she told us that we would have a contest to see who could recite the most digits of pi. Well, I decided to give it my best effort and memorize 17 digits (3.14159265358979323). Unfortunately, another student in the class memorized 50 digits, so I didn't win.

Fast forward seven years, and it's my first day of 10th grade. I'm waiting outside my algebra 2/trigonometry class and notice a new "decoration" that the math teachers must have added to the hallway over the summer. Using a paint brush, they had written at least 200 digits of pi. (I can only imagine how tedious that would have been...)

By that time, I had almost forgotten the 17 digits that I had memorized in third grade, but reading them over a few times throughout the school year as I walked through the mathematics hallway helped store them in my long-term memory bank.

Fast forward another three years, and I'm sitting in calculus class during the second semester of my freshman year of college. The professor is talking about pi and how it's used in calculus, and he asks the students if anyone has memorized any digits of pi beyond 3.14. "On the count of three, I want you all to shout out all the digits that you know," he announces.

There had to be at least 300 students in that lecture hall. I figured there were surely a few who knew more than 17 digits of pi, so I started reciting what I had memorized. Well, I quickly realized that no one else was talking and the entire class was staring at me. The teacher was impressed, but I'm quite certain that my face must have been as red as a fire engine.

When I told Mr. Handsome that story, he jokingly called me a nerd, but he enjoys telling other people that his wife knows 17 digits of pi. LOL.

Feel free to share any funny/embarrassing stories that you can recall from your own life. :)


  1. Anonymous9/02/2016

    Did you ever happen to use calc after university? Interesting that you had a math requirement, as you were a journalism major if I recall? I have to take so many classes this year that I'm wary I'll use again.

    1. You're correct that calc is not a requirement for journalism, but I also did a business concentration, so that's why I took it. :) I haven't used the specific concepts since university, but I'm glad I took it. Although it was difficult, it was a good brain stimulating challenge that fostered critical thinking.

      Gen-eds can be annoying, but they're usually unavoidable. One thing I did was to take many of my gen-ends online through a community college (both during the summer and during the school year). It cost extra money be was well worth it because it allowed me to graduate 1.5 years early. In my opinion, the community college gen-eds were better organized for self-study.


  2. Anonymous9/02/2016

    You want to know about the time I forgot my pin number?

  3. Anonymous9/02/2016

    Here's a cute story about my son when he was a toddler, he is 23 now. Anyway when he was really little I used to love to ask him "why" questions to hear his cute little answers about the world and life. So I went through all the questions "why is the sky blue" as I pointed at the sky, and, "why are there leaves on the trees" and then I looked at the ceiling in our apartment and it had the speckled paint where its kinda bumpy and I said "why are their bumps on the ceiling"? and it was all I could do to keep from laughing at my son's most adorable answer yet!! I bit my lip and looked away when he said "Don't know, I think the wall is cold"..he thought those bumps on the wall were goose bumps! HAHAHA!

  4. That's hilarious! Thanks for sharing. :)


  5. Here's a story that's really close to my mother's heart:
    It's Christmas Day of 1999, and I am running down the steps to the living room to find a "giant" Wooden Railway layout that my dad had assembled the night before. Of course I was overjoyed by that wonderful sight. But the thing that topped it off was when I opened up my favorite Christmas gift: A 1999 Wooden Railway model of James the Red Engine. And the moment I read the name of the character, I cried out: "IT'S ME, M0MMY! IT'S ME!"
    Yeah, I'm rather embarrassed by that now. But thanks to that event is why I'm such a HUGE Thomas and Friends fan.

  6. Anonymous9/02/2016

    This is a true thing that happened to me. First my tablet and wallet were gone from my purse and since I had been in a community center earlier in the day, I reported them as stolen to the police. Then later that night I really did find them in the dogs bed under my desk. Had they fallen down there or did the dog do it? I imagine they likely fell. I was ashamed and did not tell the police, but intended to when I felt less overwhelmed with my embarrassment. Over one month went by and no doubt this time, my big wallet with all my cards and cash and keys was stolen. It was taken right out from under my nose, from a counter top at a restaurant, by a quick, sneaky passer by (while I was looking at my tablet). I went directly to the police and told them all. That the first report I had actually found my wallet and tablet, but this time my walet got snagged by someone for sure. So then, the police said it is OK because you already have reported it stolen and they actually would not take any more information or give me another incident number. Then when I went to get my new ID I was careful to not say too much, because I did not want people I was applying to to note the discrepancies.

  7. Anonymous9/02/2016

    That's great! I'm a math teacher and I hold the same competition with my 7th and 8th graders. I had a student memorize up to the 102nd digit. It was amazing! I typically give $3.14 and a chocolate whoopie pie for their reward. Love that painting of the numbers...think that is inspiring me to put that on the walls too! Great story!

  8. Anonymous9/03/2016

    As a kid, I memorized the eye cart at the eye doctor. Neither the doctor or my parents realized this. Amazing how I could "see" all the lines and read the letters off correctly, even if they were a little fuzzy. I still remember the last line, TZVECL.

  9. Anonymous9/03/2016

    10th grade geometry class: there was one question on our homework that no one knew the answer to except for one person, and the whole class copied his paper, and the whole class made a zero because he got that one question wrong.

  10. Anonymous9/08/2016

    It did not happen to me, but when I was 17, I took a history class at school. The teacher asked us to write a paper about an historical figure. One of the students decided to write about Merlin the wizard. One important thing we didn't know was that our teacher, who was in her first year of teaching, wrote her master's thesis on Merlin the wizard. So when she read the guy's homework, she thought it was very similar to her own thesis. She went online to see the website he put as his reference. She discovered that not only the guy made a copy-paste of the website and gave it to her as his own work but also that the webmaster who run the site stole her thesis that was published on the website of the university she went to. So, litterally, the guy gave her a text that was an exact copy of her own thesis. I mean, what are the odds?? I can't even tell you how unconfortable we were when the teacher told us that. It was total silence in the room. She didn't tell us who it was, but gave us a heartfelt speach about plagiarism. I will remember this for a long time.


  11. Anonymous9/27/2016

    Good for you! I have a math degree, but haven't memorized the other digits of pi. Your story is so neat.