A Joke for You

Monday’s tend to take themselves too seriously, spreading tension and misery to those who aren’t ready to transition from the relative peace and happiness of the weekend to the busy realities of the work week.

I mean to go to war against Mondays by giving as many people as I can just a little bit more joy and fun for the day.

In that spirit, here’s a joke for you. I didn’t come up with this, and I don’t know where I first heard it, but this is the way I tell it, and I hope it makes you laugh.

During the French Revolution, not all the people put to death were the aristocracy or politicians with views that disagreed with the new regime. A lot of them were well educated members of the middle class who had the clarity of thought to see that the folks in charge were making a hash of things.

Thus it was that a philosopher, a mathematician, and an engineer found themselves in line for a visit with Madame La Guillotine. The philosopher was brought down first to die, and the soldiers asked him if he would like to die face down or face up, blind folded, or not.

The Philosopher said, ” I would like to die face up, with my eyes open to see this new truth of the human spirit that I will learn just as I pass into the next level of human existence. Perhaps I will know something for a moment before I die that no man has lived to tell any other.” So they lay him down, face up, secure his body, and hit the switch. The blade drops with terrifying speed, but stops about three-quarters of the way down.

The executioner believes that God has intervened for the philosopher, so he lets him go, but warns him to leave France and never come back.

Next, they bring the mathematician to the guillotine and ask him the same questions as they asked the philosopher. The mathematician thinks to himself, Every one who has gone to die here who has chosen to die face down has indeed died. That is a 100% chance of death. On the other hand, the one man who chose to look death in the eye has lived. That is a 100% chance to live so far. Either I will change that statistic, or I will strengthen it. To the executioner he said, “Place me face up, with my eyes unbound. I will die with the dignity that math gives to man.” They set it all up, throw the switch, and the blade falls with great speed, only to stop three-quarters of the way down.

The executioner is frustrated, and the crowd is calling for blood, but the mathematician has lived. The executioner beats him up to placate the crowd, and then tells him to leave France and never come back.

The engineer comes to the same conclusion that the mathematician does, and asks to die face up. They throw the switch, the blade falls, and stops, just like before.

“Hey,” says the engineer, looking up at the blade. “I think I see your problem.”


~ by lamichaud on October 8, 2012.

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