Friday, August 24, 2007

nerd jokes

If I manage to come up with something to write today, I can tie my record of seven posts in one month, which was set in May.


I have noticed in the last couple of days (although it has really been a defining aspect of my entire budding career as a purveyor of fine mathematical skills), that I feel an obligation to occasionally tell jokes in class that I do not expect very many people to understand.

Today my ninth graders were learning the area formula for a circle, so I told them "pi r squared", and then said, "actually, they're round". The American girl laughed. They don't really have pies here, so I'm telling myself that the cultural barrier electrocuted the joke.

Even telling a joke like that makes me groan inside. Why do I feel the need? Because these students would be a poorer man if they never saw an eagle fly. I mean that these students would miss out on a really great thing: nerd jokes. Nerd jokes are funny because (for those of you who have never understood a nerd joke) if you get the joke, then you are a nerd. You see, it is a special brand of humor in which the listener gets tricked into laughing, at which point THEY, in the act of laughing at a nerd joke, become worth laughing at; they then find themselves unable to keep from laughing at themselves, though they started laughing at the joke and they want to laugh at the teacher. I am truly sorry if this explanation takes the beauty out of it all.

While I do enjoy getting my students to laugh at nerdy jokes, I also enjoy the blank stares.


  1. What about the classic "Some people ask why...I say y-nought."?

    Works if there's calculus nearby.

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  3. I'm enjoying the rapid-fire blogging. Seven in one month is blowing my mind. I totally would have laughed at your pie joke. In fact, I just did. SCHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEME

  4. hey mr. burchell
    i always enjoyed your nerd jokes...
    when i was awake for them...
    your blogs are great! partly because i have nothing better to do...