This Will Not Be on the Test
Posted by Larry Wallberg on 07/12/2010
Since I earn absolutely no money from this site, I’m forced to take paying work now and again to keep myself in Chocolate Cheerios. Lately, in my non-blogging life, I’ve been writing a series of math textbooks for middle schoolers. Sometimes my mind wanders, though. That’s probably why the following problems were all rejected by my editors.
Question 1.: A newspaper has three sections. Each section contains 14 pages. The newspaper devotes 8 pages to items related to college basketball, 6 pages to articles about bourbon and/or horses, 5 pages to gossip about famous entertainers who were born in the state, and 7 pages to columns about how religion makes its readers feel good. How many pages are devoted to news?
Answer: 1½ pages. The other 14½ pages are filled with happy-face stories aimed at attracting tourists.
Question 2.: The population of the United States is roughly 310,000,000. According to recent statistics, nearly 12% of Americans are non-theists. About how many Americans practice no religion?
Answer: Zero, because everyone knows that not practicing a religion is a religion.
Question 3.: The Declaration of Independence was signed by 56 men. If 17/28 of them called themselves Christians, how many of them believed that they were creating a Christian nation?
Answer: Only two, Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann. (Bachmann dressed as a man so she could add her name to the list, but then she remembered that no one had taught her how to write, because she was “just a woman.” So she traced over Glenn Beck’s signature. That’s why his name appears twice on the document.)
Question 4.: You have been asked to make a lime Jell-O mold for your church picnic. To make enough Jell-O mold for 6 hungry people to eat, you need one box of Jell-O, one can of crushed pineapple, and one can of tuna. If you make enough Jell-O mold for 112 people, how many of them will actually eat some?
Answer: Only the pastor, who’s trying to get you to will your pineapple and tuna stocks to the church.
Question 5.: If you follow the correct order of operations, what should you do first when asked to solve the following: (13 – 3)3 ÷ 5 + 4 x 9 – 7 =?
Answer: Pray to Jesus. If he doesn’t give you the answer, you’ll know you’re going to hell, where it’s all math, all the time. Don’t you wish you’d spent July and August studying arithmetic instead of attending four sessions of Vacation Bible School?
Question 6.: According to the bible, Noah’s Ark was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 45 cubits high. A biblical cubit = approximately 1.5 feet. If the ark was filled to capacity with animals on the morning of the first day, and it rained for 40 days, how many animals in total were eaten by each Tyrannosaurus Rex on board?
Answer: Trick question. Tyrannosaurus Rex did not eat animals. It ate only Entenmann’s Chocolate Donuts. So the answer is 1, the male aardvark, because it was trying to hoard all the sweets.
Question 7.: The Troubled Asset Relief Program is giving away $700 billion to companies that are too big to fail. An additional gazillion dollars has been set aside for companies that could fail, but won’t, because they have friends in Congress. If all that money is invested in the American economy, how much will the average worker get?
Answer: Approximately $9.42 in tax rebates, give or take $9.42, spread over the next 20 years.
Question 8.: What kind of polygon has exactly three sides?
Answer: The holy trinity, but it actually has only one side comprising three hypostases (or, in English, hypotenuses).
Question 9.: There are 25 Fundamentalist Christians in a middle school math class. On a recent test, the students’ results were plotted on a grid, and the line approached a bell-shaped curve. Three students were shown to have earned 90% or better on the test. About how many students failed the test?
Answer: All 25. The school administrators just put dots at random on the grid. They claimed that they were guided by the hand of their god, who was actually trying to get them to draw an Entenmann’s Chocolate Donut.
Question 10.: Using the biblical equivalent of 3 for pi, what’s the area of a circle with a radius 3 inches long.
Answer: Approximately 28.27 square inches. The actual area doesn’t change just because you use a wrong number from the bible.