Before leaving Austin, I was fortunate enough to catch up with an old friend from high school, Ben Brumfield. We had lunch a few times with catfish and good beer to talk about old times and share stories about what everyone we used to know is up to.
One story that we talked about was about a practice for an academic decathlon event. Our English teacher, Miss Holier was the sponsor. On a regular basis, we would stay after school and she would quiz us on possible questions we would face. She was calling out questions and we were answering quickly, each of us trying to beat everyone else to the punch. All of a sudden, she came up with something that stumped us all. She called out, “5!” with all the enthusiasm and exuberance that only she could muster. We all looked at each other wondering if that was really a question. She yelled “5!” once again. After a long pause, Joel Lack hesitantly spoke up with a possible answer. He said, “120” as if he were the one asking the question. We all understood immediately and started laughing.
Mrs. Holier on the other hand was amazed. She had no idea how Joel came up with 120. We then explained to her that the exclamation mark didn’t mean she needed to yell. It meant factorial and everyone knows, or at least all of us nerds knew that 5! = 5x4x3x2x1 = 120.
So, for those of you that were there, I hope this makes you laugh. And for those of you that ever doubted, I am proud to be a nerd. Everyone has to be something…