Most of our Electrical Engineering graduates cannot…

Hexadecimal Dollar

“Man, this is so exciting!” Eve said as the four of us were entering the hall in which the beginning ceremony of the new Stanford scholastic year for Computer Science students took place.

“I mean,” she continued, “come on, this is Stanford. Tons of great names, lots of other departments, lots of interesting classes we could take, many extra-curricular activities.”

“And we’re in the middle of Silicon Valley - we can attend conferences of all these companies, big and small; we can visit IBM or Google…”

“And we’re studying Comp-Eng. One day, we’ll be more than just creators of bit buckets, but people who can actually wire transistors and stuff like that.”

“Of course, once we start having homework and we’re going to have bad teachers, we’ll curse this place to death, and continually bitch about it, but right now - I’m so excited.”

“And the best thing about it,” she said as she started kissing Taylor, “is that I’m doing it with my best friends.”

“I hope I’m more than just your friend.” Taylor said. “Oh, you are!” she replied and they started seriously making out.

“I could not help overhearing what you were saying.” said a man in his fifties or sixties who approached Jonathan and me. “For your information, most of our Electrical Engineering Graduates, cannot even replace a light bulb.”

“Hmmm… makes sense.” Jonathan said.

“Yes, they are practically specialised mathematicians.”

“What’s up with them?” He asked, pointing at Taylor and Eve.

“Well,” I said, “it’s a combination of raging hormones and what we really hope is a match made in heaven.”

“Wait a sec… we haven’t introduced ourselves! I’m Jennifer Raymond and this is my boyfriend, Jonathan Demarco.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Professor Emeritus Don Knuth [Kanooth].”

“Knuth,” Eve said as she let herself out of Taylor, “What about Knuth?”

“Nice to meet you, Miss, I’m Don Knuth.” said the professor as he extended his hand.

“Oh my god,” Eve got excited as she shook his hand, “Don Knuth, the TeX [Tekh] guy.”

Prof. Knuth nodded an said, “Yes, TeX”.

“Hi!” Eve continued, “I’m a… I’m a great, I’m a great adm… ehhhh…,” and she fainted into Taylor’s arms.

Hexadecimal Dollar

We were in a relatively quiet side room. Prof. Knuth was there and also the four of us, (with Eve still unconscious) and a doctor. Eventually, Eve woke up.

“Oh my God,” she said, “…Taylor, Jennifer, Jonathan…” she looked around.

“Professor Knuth! Oh, I’m so sorry.”

“Nah! That’s OK.”, he said.

“Ah, OK. Just understand that meeting you is sort of like meeting God.”

“I’m not God.” he said, “Hell, last time I tried, it took me two days to build the Roman Empire.” Some people laughed or giggled. “Here,” he continued. “I made something for you.” and he gave her a check.

“2.56 dollars,” she turned the check, “To my great adm.” she said, “Wow! One Knuthian Hexadecimal Dollar just for me.”

“Are you going to cash it in?”, Jonathan asked whimsically.

“Are you kidding? This stuff sells on eBay for at least a hundred bucks…”

I burst into laughter.

“I’m just kidding.” Eve said, “I’m going to cherish it.”.

I admit that I did not entirely understand everything that happened right away. But when I returned to my dorm room, I spent some time browsing the web looking for answers. I still have a lot to learn, but I’m getting there. I guess I’m just a geek who’s trying to make the world a better place.