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Forwarded-by: Nev Dull

Two mathematicians, Joe and Richard, were having dinner in a restaurant in Portland, Oregon, arguing about the average mathematical knowledge of the American public. Richard claimed that this average was woefully inadequate while Joe maintained that it was surprisingly high.

I'll tell you what, said Richard, when I get back from the bathroom we'll ask our waitress a simple calculus question. If she gets it right, I'll pick up dinner. If not, you do. Okay? They agreed, but once he'd left, Joe called the waitress over.

When my friend comes back, he told her, he's going to ask you a question; you should respond 'one third x cubed' no matter what the question is; got that? There's twenty bucks in it for you. She happily agreed to the gag.

Richard returned from the men's room and called the waitress over. The food was wonderful, he started, incidentally, do you know what the integral of x squared is?

The waitress looked startled, then pensive, almost pained. She looked around the room, at her feet, made gurgling noises, (Joe was starting to sweat) and finally said, Umm, one third x cubed?

Joe beamed in relief as an astonished Richard paid the check and a clearly irritated waitress muttered under her breath, ... plus a constant.

Another, shorter version of the joke

Two mathematicians are in a restaurant, bemoaning the fact that the general public knows so little about mathematics. One is totally pessimistic, but the other thinks there's some hope.

Eventually the pessimist goes to the bathroom and while he's gone, the optimist brings over the waitress, who's a vacant-eyed blonde (oops! maybe this is a blonde joke). He hands her $10 and says, When my friend comes back, I'll call you to the table, and I'll ask you a question. Just answer 'log x' and there's another $10 in it for you.

The friend returns, and the guy says, You know, I think the general public DOES know more math than you think. I'll bet you $100 that the blonde waitress can integrate 1/x. Of course the other guy accepts, the waitress is brought over, and she's asked, What is the integral of 1/x?.

She answers, log x, then pauses, and adds, plus an arbitrary constant.

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