Pi Day: Some Things Are Constant

By John Hertz:  You might be amused by this 2015 reprint from Vanamonde 1136. Remembering trouble here with the square-root symbol, I’ve amended the reprint with brackets, and still had to leave some out.

Saturday was Pi Day, [Greek lower-case letter pi, the mathematical constant] [approximation symbol] 3.1415 not to match the calendar again for a hundred years.  You may say next year will be better, 3.1416 being a closer approximation, but 3-14-16 won’t be on the weekend.  It was the first day of on-site workshops and rehearsals for this year’s Renaissance Pleasure Faire®, first and best of these fairs, where by way of another time-consuming hobby I’ve thirty years portrayed an Elizabethan courtier, an actual historical person, which perhaps I may now say is fascinating (Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015, may his memory be for a blessing).  My part of the Faire conducts a bake sale, for fun, for the convenience of other actors, and to raise money, since paint and props [hand and stage properties e.g. ewers, music stands, carpets] and platforms are only to some extent provided.  I brought two dozen pies, little ones you might call handfood.  I was not able to get them precisely 3.14” across.  I wanted them sold @ $3.14  – this symbol long known in commerce means “at … each”, carelessly appropriated in Electronicland with the usual thought, if that term may be used, of Oh well it means something or other and if you think any different you’re oldfashioned or square or some other putdown that makes it your fault so I needn’t listen to you – but that would have called for making change which can’t be done so the price was rounded, not that this was inappropriate, to $3.  The joke only works in English; in Greek the name of the letter [lower-case pi] is pronounced as in English we pronounce the name of the letter p its equivalent, also what we in the United States call pie is not a customary Greek food.  All-cast announcements were made for half an hour at 9 a.m.; I might have traded on acquaintance with the Director of Entertainment to get the stage near the end, raise a cheer “Apple!  Cherry!  Mince!” and explain “Thanks!  It’s 9:26, the Pi Moment of the Century!” but these meetings tend to run too long and what if others had brought celebratory tokens and lived the moment by throwing them at me?

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