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Question

Dear Mitch,

I saw your name under editors in an old National Lampoon Magazine at a garage sale. So I figured you must know some math jokes and I need one for a presentation I have to do for school. Can you give me one?

Later,

William M.,

Washington, D.C.

Answer

Dear William M.,

 

Yes, I can!

First, though, to clarify: I wasn't an editor but a contributing editor at the lampoon, and as you point out it was a while ago and for a brief period only.

If you've visited this site before you know I almost always try for originality. However, I am not in favor of valuing originality above quality, so I am not above sharing anything I've enjoyed, regardless of whether I'm its creator. (Subject to my obtaining permission where applicable, of course.)

Finally, since I have always had great respect for anyone who has the courage to even try to create anything, when I am not presenting something which is wholly my own, I try to make that fact as clear as I can. Today, for example, THIS IS NOT MY JOKE. I heard it many years ago as a child, and I've heard it repeated several times since, and I have always enjoyed it. I suspect it's older than I can imagine. HOWEVER, if anyone reading this knows its true origin, by all means write me so I can give its author his/her appropriate credit.

 

This is how I recall the story:

A group of Chinese mathematicians studying the natural patterns of nature and its mathematical functions are graphing the relationship between the number of feet a frog has and the number of yards it jumps.

First, they note that the frog has four feet. Jump Frog, jump!, they shout, and the frog jumps four yards.

They note: 4 feet, frog jumps four yards.

They then painlessly tie a bandage around one of the frog's feet. They note 3 feet. Jump frog, jump!, they shout, and the frog jumps three yards.

They note: 3 feet, frog jumps three yards.

They then painlessly place a bandage around one more of the frog's feet. They note 2 feet. Jump frog, jump!, they shout, and the frog jumps two yards.

They note: 2 feet, frog jumps two yards.

They then painlessly place a bandage around one more of the frog's feet. They note 1 foot. Jump frog, jump!, they shout, and the frog jumps one yard.

They note: 1 foot, frog jumps one yard.

They then painlessly place a bandage around the final foot of the frog. They note 0 feet. Jump frog, jump! They shout, and the frog does not jump. They try again: Jump frog, jump! they shout, and, again, the frog remains still.

They note: Zero feet, frog becomes deaf.

 

Hope you enjoyed,

Mitch