Sunday, March 26, 2017

Conversation With A Man Who Walks Five Miles Daily for Tacos

I was enjoying a simple dinner at Taco Bell before my plans for the evening began. Once again, a man older than I drew me into a conversation. He graduated from Orchard View in 1964, one of the first graduating classes of that school district. He learned to love mathematics although he made his living without much math. He asked me, "How many grains of sand could fit in the orb of the Earth"? I had to have an answer, so I said, "One trillion grains of sand can fit in the orb of the earth"? "One trillion is too small. I forget his answer, which is sad. Sad. Donald Trump sad. All I could find on Google is the following statistic. Seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains are estimated to exist on all the world's beaches, though. He then asked me, "How many atoms of matter, oxygen or carbon or whatever, can fit in the orb of the Earth"? "Much more than the count of the grains of sand? The count of grains of sand times one trillion"? "Nice try, young man. Nice try. The number Googol closely represents the number of atoms that fit in the orb of the earth. Ten to the Hundredth Power is a Googol. We've known that number since the Twenties. Isn't that impressive"? I wanted to ask him, "So, how many angels can fit on the head of a pin", but I didn't want to ask a question to which I didn't have an answer. It just wasn't respectful to ask him a question if I didn't have an answer.
He had just turned 71 years of age. He has walked to the Taco Bell five miles every day for tacos ten days in a row. His mother passed at 99 years of age. I said, "I'm sorry". He said, "What's sad to me is she almost made a three-digit age. I'm not giving up until I have a three-digit age. I promised her on her death bed".

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