Monday, November 21, 2005

With our very special guest blogger... Anders Yates!

My funny friend Anders Yates, from the Montreal improv troupe Uncalled For, doesn't have a blog, but I tagged him with the silly 23/5 meme anyway. So, Yates turned to the 23rd page in his writing notebook, took the fifth line on the page, and used it to write me a new piece. Here it is.

"How many chairs do you sit in in just three days?"

"Why do you want to know?"

"It’s for my math class. You know how there’s this theory that if you make a series of estimates on which to base your final answer, some estimates will be high and some low and they’ll balance out enough to get you a fairly accurate result. Like as an example our professor asked us how many professional piano tuners there are in the city of Montreal, and we had to solve it without looking anything up. So we did it by estimating the population of Montreal, then coming up with a figure for how many households that works out to, then how many of them are high-income enough and musically inclined enough to have pianos, and we also factored in how many churches, bars, theatre groups, schools and bands were likely to have pianos as well, then how often all those pianos need tuning, and from that we came up with how many piano tunings were likely to take place in the space of a year. Then we guessed at the average annual income of a piano tuner, at how much one might charge to tune a piano, and from that we determined how many professional piano tuners the market could support."

"That doesn’t sound like it would give you a good answer."

"Well, it did. We said there were probably six. The Yellow Pages has eight listings, but when we called around after the exercise to check our results out, two of them turned out to be mostly just piano rentals, so I guess we were pretty much bang on. So how many chairs would you say you sit on in an average three day period?"

"Jeez, I’m not really sure. What is this building toward?"

"Oh, I was just going to do a project about your lazy ass and I wanted to see if you limited yourself to that one spot on the couch or if you ever shook things up by sitting in other places, and if so, what the average number of people would be that would have to later encounter your putrid lingering odour."

"You’re going to your room right now young man. That’s no way to talk to your father!"

"If you were my father you would have come to my Mathletics tournament!"

"Why can’t you just go write a poem like a normal screwed up teenager?"

"See! You still don’t understand me OR anything I like!"

"That may be but it does not give you the right to disrespect your father!"

"I told you already! You’re not my father! If you put together the probability that each and every one of your noticeable genes, from eye colour to hairyness to lack of intelligence, are all recessive, and that somehow the genetic code for freckles popped up when neither you nor mom have them, the probability is far lower than the 4.5% likelihood, as reported in a recent study, that a father in North America is unknowingly raising another man’s child."

"Does… does math prove that? That your mother cheated on me?"

"Technically it’s statistics, paired with a half-decent sense of observation."

"I… I…"

"Hey, dad, I’m sorry. Let me write you a poem about it."

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