Thursday, August 18, 2011


I don't know why I was signed out of my personalized google page but it was a treat to see the minimalistic glory of Original Google.  Every once in a while I can do without the commotion of the moon phase, the medical news, the scandal du jour and whatever other widgets load when I open my browser.  Today, beside the search box, I noticed a prominently displayed chalkboard containing what looked like a simple algebra equation.

Apparently, today (well, yesterday when this is posted) is some sort of meaningful day.  I like this silly stuff.  The hearts and flowers on Valentine's Day (maybe one year they'll go with an Al Capone theme to commemorate the massacre?), the pumpkins on Halloween and then days like today.... the obscure stuff... what's up with the chalkboard?

Well, I will tell you and yes, indeed it's worthy of a mention in this blog.  Today is the birthdate of Pierre de Fermat.  WHO the 5-FU is Pierre d WHAT?  Quite simply, he is the patron saint of unfinished business.  I think I need to get a statue of this guy and put him on an altar in my house. Maybe HE will get me back on track and I can finally clean up the mess in my office and free my brain of all the lingering nonsense.

I have quite a few loose ends to tie up so I can complete the transition out of my accounting position.  My brain is going to explode if I don’t just do it already.  I know it amounts to about four hours of work and I also know it’s been sitting there for months.  And that’s not an exaggeration for effect.  It’s the pathetic truth.  Where is Mr. Friggen Rogers.  I need to wrap this up already.

Maybe this Pierre guy is a better solution than Mr. Rogers.  After all, yesterday, in my semi-hysterical state, I do believe I called upon St. Anthony (for those who may not be up on their patron saints, he’s the guy who makes lost things reappear….there’s even a catchy little rhyming prayer about “something lost that can’t be found”).  And, I did find the passport.  I might be onto something!

Be right back, let me go find out how this fellow was awarded the responsibility to take care of aiding me with my unfinished business.  A blurb in his bio is eerily ironic:

Fermat accomplished many feats. He helped develop analytic geometry. He planted the seed that would blossom into differential calculus. He made important contributions to optics, probability theory, and most of all, number theory. He was fluent in five languages. And he managed all of this while holding down a job as a lawyer.

He was a numbers guy.  You MUST be joking.  He was a genius in every kind of math?  (He also finished his language lessons, which is yet another thing in the unfinished business of my life...) That might be funny.  I’m still deciding if I should laugh, cry or punch a wall.  And, this guy was a lawyer?  Like my dad….. hmmm.  Interesting.  I still don’t understand what this has to do with unfinished business.  Excuse me again.  Further digging is necessary.

Fermat jotted a note in the margins that would drive mathematicians crazy for the next four centuries.
"It is impossible to separate a cube into two cubes, or a fourth power into two fourth powers, or in general, any power higher than the second, into two like powers. I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this, which this margin is too narrow to contain."
Well, that does it for me.  I have no friggen idea what that means.  I do see “exponential” in there and I think I’ve mentioned my love of the concept of "exponential" numerous times in prior entries.  He is definitely my guy.

Bottom line, that note was written in 1637.  It wasn’t solved until 1994.  And it wasn’t solved using a “work around” unsolution.  It took SEVEN years and 100 pages for a brainiac to PROVE the statement.  Andrew Wiles (if anyone cares to know his name) solved The Worlds Most Difficult Math Problem (according to Guinness) earning him the honor of being knighted by the Queen.

What does this mean to me?  Next time someone asks me about the bank reconciliations or why my bills are late or when I plan to finish cleaning up the mess in the garage, I will be sure to let them know that I have a truly marvelous plan to finish everything, but that the day is too narrow to contain it.  If it worked for Pierre for more than 350 years, maybe I can buy myself another month or two.

And, as far as this knight stuff, (Sir) Wiles may have been one brilliant guy, but I’m sure he didn’t have the moves like (Sir) Jagger.

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