The Long View: Lost

By Manuel L. Quezon III

In the province of Papa-oom-maw-maw, a demonstration of the New Math­™ (and other adventures in learning).

“This meeting will come to order. Commissioner Dagdag?”


“Commissioner Bawas?”

“Ready for duty, Chairman Ayos!”

“Commissioner Gapang?”

“Here, ready and willing!”

“Very good. So, we are all present and accounting for.”

“Excuse me, Chairman Ayos…”

“What is it, Commissioner Dagdag?”

“You mean, ‘present and accounted for,’ because ‘accounting for’ might be, you know, heh-heh…”

“Ah. Hee hee. True. Very well. Gentlemen, we are here to conduct a special investigation to find out what happened to the numbers in the province of Papa-oom-maw-maw. We cannot declaim, I mean retain, I mean sustain, I mean-“

“Sir, victory for Zooberry!”

“Yes. Which requires numbers. Commissioners Dagdag and Bawas, can you tell us why we have no numbers?”

“Actually, sir, numbers were produced, it’s just that witnesses came forward to say the numbers were invented.”

“Invented? How?”


“Oh, of course. But so, what happened with the witnesses?”

“Sir, do you see any witnesses? Anywhere?”

“I guess not. But - oh! Hee hee. So what’s the problem?”

“Chairman, you said we should declare a failure of counting here in Papa-oom-maw-maw, but then it turned out the numbers were OK.”

“They are?”

“Except, we have a problem. You see, the numbers – they’re sort of missing.”

“Missing? But I thought it was the witnesses who – “

“Never mind them, sir, it’s the numbers. They’re … lost!”

“Where were they last seen?”

“In Mr. Betel’s office. But Betel has kind of gone … nuts.”

“Betel? Nuts? Explain!”

“Well, perhaps, Mr. Chairman, we should ask him?”

“Very well. Call in Mr. Betel.”

“Hi po.”

“Mr. Betel, do you swear that the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

“Maybe po.”

“Good enough. So, tell us, where are the numbers?”

“Lost po.”

“Lost? How?”

“Actually, stolen po.”

“Stolen? How?”

“Well, really, eaten po.”


“Kasi po, my dog ate the numbers and then someone stole my dog. It’s true po.”

“Oh. How terrible. And where’s your dog?”

“Missing na nga, po.”

“Ah. And, uh, what is that beside you?”

“Oh? That? My cat, po.”

“Why is it barking?”

“I don’t know po.”

“Ah. Curious. Thank you for your testimony.”

“Bye, po.”

“Well gentlemen, it seems the numbers (or the dog, or both) were eaten! What do we do?”

“Chairman Ayos, I move that we find substitute numbers.”

“Commissioner Bawas moves that we look for new numbers. Produce the new numbers!”

“Sir, we have to find the new numbers first.”

“Oh. Is that difficult?”

“Not really, Sir. Let us apply the Advanced New Math™.”

“I like that! Tell me how we can do that, Commissioner Gapang.”

“Well, sir, we have two sets of relevant numbers. The Zooberry numbers, and the Pimple numbers. Applying the Theory of Glorious Relativity, we know that where A=Zooberry and B=Pimple and C=Population, then A=C-B squared, where A is always 12 times C.”


“That’s why it’s advanced New Math™, Chairman. Leave it to Commissioners Dagdag and Bawas to compute.”

“No, no, I’m a pro. Hmmm. We know there are 3,000,000 people in Papa-oom-maw-maw, then we already know Zooberry, I mean, A, equals 36,000,000 numbers!”

“Well, no sir, that’s too extreme. A equals 3,000,000 minus 5 squared, or 25 (that’s the number for Pimple, or B), where A, or Zooberry, always equals 12 times 3,000,000 or C. So, 36 million.”

“That’s what I said!”

“But, sir, you see, it’s the process that matters.”

“Ah! Of course! We must always uphold the numbers process!”

“Exactly, Chairman Ayos. So now that we know the results, we can work backwards and rediscover the numbers!”

“And that is why we’re here, yes?”

“Yes, sir. Oh, by the way, sir, what’s that under your chair?”

“Where? Here? Oh! Look! Numbers!”

(Chorus) “Wow! Plenty of numbers!”

“My God, amazing! Let me see… 1… 2… 7… 11… 36… 954… 10 million… 20 million… 29 million and a half… why, 36 million numbers! Imagine that! All for… Zooberry!”

(Chorus) “A miracle!”

“No! It’s the triumph of New Math™!”

(Chorus) “Amen!”

Manuel L. Quezon III.

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