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Friday, July 5, 2013

The $64,000 Question-Quiz Show Idea



Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village, 1958. 


I’m supposed to be meeting Ruby here but as always, she’s late. She wanted me to write you so you don’t think she made me up and all. But when I asked her what to say she said, “You figure it out, Gordy. Just don’t do a lot of numbers nobody can understand.”

Why does everybody think all I do is numbers? Yeah, I like ‘em, I’m good at numbers and what’s so bad about that?

If we didn’t have math, Ruby and her family wouldn’t have a bathroom sink, for instance, because no one would know how to measure it. But when I tell her that, she just says “yeah” and rolls her eyes.

Sophie, on the other hand, is a little better about numbers and math. She likes the idea of appearing on a quiz show, like The $64,000 Question. My dad says he thinks that might be rigged, but I don’t care. I would just tell them not to give me any answers and ask whatever they wanted.

There’s some stuff I don’t know yet, like algebra and trigonometry. But for my age group, they ought to have a quiz show, I think. Or maybe an episode, just for us.

Sophie wants to be on TV so she thinks we should start our own show. Ruby could do the poetry questions, Sophie could clown around like she always does and I could do the heavy lifting on math. The problem is that Sophie thinks all the questions should have a joke in them, and how do you joke about stuff like ratios and long division?

I bet Sophie could figure it out, though. She wants me to give you some numbers about Greenwich Village, where we all live. I think that’s dumb because you can just go to a book to get it. I mean I could tell you that Washington Square Park is 9.75 acres and its coordinates are 40°43′51″N 73°59′51″W, so you could find it on a map.

Ruby thinks I should also tell you how to get there by foot in case coordinates aren’t your thing. Here’s what I’d rather tell you: my mom is from Italy and speaks fluent Italian. My dad is a builder which means he knows how to build a whole house or apartment or storefront from start to finish. And he knows numbers, I mean really knows them, much better than I do.

Plus, my mom cooks the best Italian on the block (as good as anything in Little Italy around the corner) and wants to open a restaurant one day. Sometimes she sells stuff at street fairs and people line up for half a block to get her food.

I guess I’d agree with Ruby though about most of the people down here. Some say they’re Beats and others say they’re “decent, hardworking people.” Carmine and Bedford is kind of a mix so I’m not sure what we are, exactly. My dad doesn’t want me to go to a regular school because he thinks you get kind of cookie cuttered, like you do in a factory. I’m all right with that, but I just wish I had more friends that liked math.


Then again, I really like Sophie and Ruby. I never laugh so much as I do when I’m with them. We just have to start this quiz show idea. That way I can talk about all the numbers I want, and Ruby won’t roll her eyes. 





Gordon Robert Shay, aka “Gordy”




Face photo: Dustin Moore



Blackboard: Evelyn Saenz