Saturday, October 22, 2005

Go Figure!

Well, I have to consider it simply a colossal failure of imagination on my part; maybe I can attribute it to my slowly advancing years or something.

In any case, I would never in my wildest imaginings have though that when my two children decided (on a wild, un-parentally-supervised Daytona Beach weekend, what with them being adults and all) to get tattooed, that I would not only end up approving of the idea, but be impressed by the results and prouder than ever of those two knuckleheads.

This apparently started out a long time ago as Madeline's idea. And what do you think a graduate of one of Virginia's most prestigious "Governor's Schools," the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, would have tattooed on her?

For his part, Philip crafted the design using the family's ancient Remington Manual typewriter. He worked up the original, which was then enlarged to create the template for the tattooist.

So now, in a band encircling the thickest part of Madeline's left forearm, and the thickest part of Philip's right bicep, is tattooed...

...the first forty-seven digits of pi.

Not the name of a girlfriend or boyfriend, or a fighting slogan, or a meaningless symbol, or a symbol misappropriated from another culture without regard to its meaning. A universal constant, a mathematical expression—in a circle, no less. An expression of constancy, of unity, of closure, of connection. Shared by a brother and sister. Now come on, what could make a parent happier?

And supposedly, if you carry pi out to forty-seven digits, you can calculate the diameter of a circle the size of the known universe with a margin of error less than the width of a single proton. How do we know this? We know this because somebody told us. We're too busy to check it out, but it sounds really, really, impressive.

In addition, both kids donated blood immediately prior to getting inked (since now they won't be allowed to donate for 12 months) and Phil even got some of the guys at school to donate for the first time. Madeline, for her part, has lined up something like two dozen potential first-time donors at school to cover for her downtime.

When they get the time, they're both going to go back and have the remaining digits added.

And all four of us are taking a good, hard look at phi. Hmmm...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

:) I love that we're a close enough family that, as parents, you and mom can look past "tattoo" and see real meaning, and real context. Not only does your attitude show love and respect, it encourages love and respect in return.

Dennis said...

I love that you would post that as 'anonymous.'

Andrew said...

Its prolly one of his occaisional little tests to see just how far over the hill you really are?