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Pi Day adds up to irrational love of infinite goofiness

How one family celebrates National Pi Day with jokes, pies, and mosaics. 

Lisa Suhay
Quin Suhay, at age 10, of Norfolk, Va., and his Pi mosaics.

For those who adore math, National Pi Day brings out the kid in adults and the adult in kids.

“That’s because love is irrational and so is Pi,” says my studious, Pi-loving 11-year-old math geek.

Pi, or π, is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. As already mentioned, it’s an “irrational” number that continues infinitely with no pattern: 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582 etc. ad infinitum.

In its shortest form it’s 3.14, which is why March 14 (3.14) is Pi Day each year.

Today is the Pi Day of the Century (3.14.15) which translates into a sort of giddy mathematical mayhem. And, at precisely 9:26:53 am/pm the date and time match up with the first 10 digits of pi, 3.141592653.

I love this day because many of the kids I know walk around spouting math jargon and showing off their skills by reciting as many digits as they can remember.

Many mathamatically love-struck adults take on a dewy glow as their Pi in the sky dreams come to fruition today. They will bake a Pi-themed pie and then run it off in a 5k while wearing shirts with Pi jokes emblazoned across them .

One of my geekier friends has a shirt with two squares that look like latticed pies which reads, “Two pie are squared.”

Some of the nerdy jokes posted by adults on social media include:

“Did you know that 3.14% of sailors are pi rates?”

“The roundest knight at King Arthur’s table was Sir Cumference. He ate too much Pi.”

My son Quin joins the wordplay for this day of reverence to his favorite subject.

“The worst thing about getting hit in the face with Pi is that it never ends,” he says. “Also, never talk to Pi, he'll go on forever!”

My son has no idea that, when delivered by an utterly serious child, his jokes are much funnier than the more slapstick groaners of the grownups.

Last year we made the traditional Pi pies. Those are pies with the Pi symbol carved into the crust prior to baking.

This year, while the far-from catchy Pi Song by Hard ‘n Phrim will play on an infinite loop from the iPod docking station, we will assemble Pi in the form of mosaics.

That’s because on a non-Pi Day back in August last year, Quin and I were pondering a garden project of making mosaics on stepping stones for our tatty looking yard. I wanted to make numbers on the stones to create hopscotch.

Quin took one look at the first stone and said, “No Mom, we should make Pi!”

So began the infinite quest for old bits of broken crockery, tiles and flat chunks of masonry upon which to piece together the numbers of Pi.

I realize that any parent who agrees to a project of making an infinite number is asking for trouble. We quickly ran out of materials and the money with which to buy more.

I thought that meant we were done.

Quin set me straight by telling me about his Kickstarter campaign plans for “Making Pi for Everyone.”

"I just love this number so much. It's so cool. I feel like I have to share it with the world," Quin said. "After we make the stepping stones for our block I want to make Pi symbols and as many digits as I can."

I set a goal of $50 and was stunned to have so many adults leap in to help Quin pave the way for Pi. He raised $453.

More than the money, he raised our family’s awareness of how young at heart the most elderly of math lovers can be when it comes to this crazy number.

He received hundreds of e-mails and comments from all around the world telling him what a cool kid he is and sharing Pi jokes, pictures, Pi pie recipes and decorating ideas.

Because it’s pouring here in Norfolk, Va., on the great day we’ve had to Pi punt and do paper mosaics as we wait for the pies to bake. After the baking we will need to run one of the many Pi Day 5k runs.

I have to stop writing since Quin, while working on his paper mosaic, had a brainstorm which requires this mom’s full attention.

He’s standing in front of the hallway mirror and shouting, “Did you know that if you hold 3.14 up to a mirror it reads as “pie? Come see!”

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