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So, follow up to "smarter than the average bear".... - John [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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So, follow up to "smarter than the average bear".... [Dec. 11th, 2016|01:03 pm]
I put this into a response, but since it reminded me of another old legend (that I believe I first heard about in alt.callahans) I figured I'd share the response as well.

(in response to the bumper sticker taking three days to figure out)

Three days isn't too bad - it took me weeks, seeing it every day. I'm not sure why I was sure it meant something, but I was... but I kept thinking in the wrong direction. "Your mind is greater than an imaginary bear? But why sum of n bear-times-i divided by n?" "A brain is greater than (n+1)/2 bears?"

(See, if it was the sum of bear, times the counting number, from 1 to n (one bear, two more bears, 3 more bears...), well the sum from 1 to n of the counting numbers is n(n+1)/2. Divide by n, it becomes (n+1)/2.)

I wish I could remember how and when I suddenly thought "it's an AVERAGE of bears!" at which point, it hit me.

It's fun, though, and a lot better than a legend I heard of a riddle on a radio show.

They asked "What's the first thing you know?"

Well, technically, they asked "What's 'the first thing you know'" - the inner quotes are *essential*, as you'll see.

People phone in guess after guess for three solid days, from the philosophical to the comical, pun-inspired and not. No one (so the legend goes) was ready for the real answer.

(I promise you: this is not a rickroll and is work safe.)

The legend continues, quite reasonably for a legend, that a police escort was required to get the DJs out of the radio station.

If you're not keen on clicking on random links (good for you, BTW!), I'll include the answer in the comments.

[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2016-12-11 09:10 pm (UTC)
In the theme song for an old comedy show, The Beverly Hillbillies, right after an "old mountaineer (so poor he can barely feed his family)..." discovered oil on his property, the song continues: "Well the first thing you know, old Jed's a millionaire".

So the answer to "what's 'the first thing you know'?" is "old Jed's a millionaire."

I know most readers here grew up in a time when it's normal-ish to know of the Beverly Hillbillies and to be able to sing along with the theme song (even if only mentally), but I realized recently that there are maybe 2-3 people at work who I know have a chance of solving the riddle. We have multiple people born and raised in India, another who's from China, and more that I just don't know, but I know they probably aren't middle aged people who grew up in the US and had a constant supply of The Beverly Hillbillies" on UHF.

Edited at 2016-12-11 11:13 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: acelightning
2016-12-12 04:12 am (UTC)
I wouldn't have known that one. I was never much of a consumer of popular culture, and what I do remember came from earlier than The Beverly Hillbillies - e.g., Space Patrol, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger, Kukla, Fran, and Ollie, and Ernie Kovacs.

Edited at 2016-12-12 04:13 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2016-12-12 07:58 pm (UTC)
I certainly believe that. But out of idle curiosity... do you at least recognize the tune of the theme song?

Nothing wrong if you don't - but I'd have bet a dollar at two to one odds that any randomly selected person that lived in the US had at least *heard* the theme song, in the background, often enough to recognize the tune - enough to say "oh, right, that was a TV show theme wasn't it?"
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[User Picture]From: acelightning
2016-12-13 08:17 am (UTC)
Yeah, I'd recognize the tune - for one thing, I have a friend who's a bluegrass musician, and I think all banjo players are required by law to know that tune :-D
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