When I first learned about pi, it was noted as 3.14, or 22/7, the latter because I suspect they figured kids couldn’t understand how to multiply by 3 1/7. Or something.
Pi, of course, is 3.141592, followed by a whole lot of numbers, none of which I have bothered to memorize. And 22/7 is 3.142857 endlessly repeated. Close enough for most purposes.
As a kid, I loved the beginning of baseball season. I would take the box scores from the morning newspaper, the Sun-Bulletin, in Binghamton, NY. I’d figure out players’ batting averages after one or two games because it was FUN. (No, really, it WAS!) It was a bit of baseball division, as it were.
Figuring out two to six at-bats was easy. Eight at-bats also worked because I thought of pirates’ pieces of eight; in my mind, I considered eight twelve-and-a-half cent pieces (.125, .250, and so forth). Sussing nine at-bats was a cinch (.111, .222, et al.) though I had to add a point above 50%. (.556, .667, and so on).
Calculating seven at-bats was only slightly more challenging. But once I figured it out, I recognized its beauty. 1 for 7 is .143; 2 for 7, .286, 3 for 7, .429; 4 for 7, .571; 5 for 7,.714, 6 for 7, .857. The first two digits are multiples of 14 until you get past 50%, then it’s one more than that.
Let me let you in on a secret. All the information I’ve written to date in this post was written in my head in the nine minutes I was waiting to take my blood pressure on a Sunday morning when I had not gotten enough sleep the night before.
I was so entranced thinking about the numbers that I missed the little chirp on the stove’s timer signaling one minute to go. It wasn’t until the device signaled the entire nine minutes that I recognized the passage of time.
It was almost, dare I say it, a zen experience, musing over numbers. I liked it, but I don’t recall experiencing something like that in a very long time.