The effervescent Tiff has invited everyone to write a short story about the above picture in 500 words or less. Here’s my humble submission for the Pulitzer committee to consider.
Professor Pi had had a rough day. Things weren’t going very well at all with his government-funded Circle Alignment Project. Perkins over in purchasing mistakenly ordered 50 three-and-a-half foot ovals that morning, and some joker replaced the round pegs with square ones so they wouldn’t fit into the round holes anymore. To crown it all, late that afternoon word reached the Center for Circular Sciences that Doctor Isosceles of the Triangular Think Tank had successfully aligned seven triangles with an margin of error of only one-billionth of an inch; this bested the work of their rival, Professor Quad’s nearly perfect “six squares of straightness.” Professor Pi’s assistant, young Wilkens, delivered the bad news to the professor himself. The esteemed man of science had just settled down to his customary tea and Oreo cookies when Wilkens burst into his office.
“What? Seven? Impossible!” spluttered Professor Pi, upsetting his teacup. “We haven’t done six yet! It’s these damn circles — they keep rolling, never stay put.”
“Professor, I needn’t remind you that the Senate Select Sub-committee on Geometric Shapes makes their recommendation this Thursday.”
“Right you are, Wilkens. As things stand now, Isosceles’ triangle will be a shoo-in. Cancel all your plans, my boy. Our only hope is action!”
The experimental four foot high Velcro circles had shown promise by staying fixed to their receptor bases, but ultimately had to be scrapped because the professor’s carpet slippers kept sticking to the floor and the fuzziness of the circles threw off the measuring instruments. Titanium, copper, steel, and lead were all tried, but as soon as the last circle was put into place, one of the others would start rolling out of line. Throughout the night and well into the following day, Professor Pi and Wilkens labored over the problem of beating Doctor Isosceles and his seven totally trued-up triangles.
At midday the professor and Wilkens took a break at the diner next door. As Pi sat slumped dejectedly over the counter staring glumly at his tuna melt and Coke, he glanced over to see Wilkens about to dunk a chocolate-glazed donut into his coffee. “That’s it, Wilkens!” cried the professor as he seized the donut from his surprised protege. “Back to the lab!”
It was a black day indeed for both Doctor Isosceles and Professor Quad when the news hit. The bold headline type of The Washington Post proclaimed: “Senate Adopts Circle as National Shape!” Then the subhead ran above the professor’s picture: “Professor Pi unveils new design; first man to align eight circles through use of “stabilizing holes”; Nobel Prize considered.”
Yes, by God, the professor did it!