The Average Math Knowledge of Society

Two mathematicians, Joe and Richard , were having dinner in a restaurant. They were arguing about the average mathematical knowledge of the American public. Richard claimed that this average was woefully inadequate while Joe maintained that it was surpassingly 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 stated, "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."