An Elderly Man Wants A Job
An elderly man is seeking employment, but the foreman insists on him passing a simple math test before hiring:
“Here’s your first question,” the foreman begins.
“Represent the number nine without using numbers.”
The old man ponders for a moment and then proceeds to draw three trees.
The boss inquires, “What’s this?”
The old man responds, “It’s simple. Tree plus tree plus tree equals nine.”
The boss nods and says, “Fair enough.”
He then presents the second question, “Now, use the same rules to represent the number 99.”
The man gazes into the distance, then takes the picture he just drew and smudges each tree, returning it to the boss.
The boss looks perplexed and asks, “How does that represent 99?”
The old man explains, “Each of the trees is dirty now. So, it’s a dirty tree plus a dirty tree plus a dirty tree, which makes 99.”
“Alright, last question,” the boss says. “Same rules again, but represent the number 100.”
The elderly man contemplates for a moment, then marks the base of each tree on the picture and hands it back.
The boss examines the picture and remarks, “You must be crazy if you think this represents a hundred.”
The old man leans forward and points to the marks at the base of each tree and whispers, “A little dog came along and left a deposit by each tree. So now you have a dirty tree and a turd, plus a dirty tree and a turd, plus a dirty tree and a turd, which makes 100.”