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Have Some Pie — Or Maybe Pi

By John Addyman        Email:

I was confused.

With the turning of the leaves, the nip of fall in the air and the days getting shorter, I’d gotten my mouth all ready to celebrate National Pie Day.

But, frankly, there was a problem.

You’d think that setting aside a day a year to especially enjoy a nice piece of pie with a little ice cream on the side would be a simple thing, right? You could have your pie in the morning or at lunchtime or in the middle of the afternoon or after dinner or before bedtime. Any time is the right time to have some pie.

And that’s where the problem intensifies. Not only is any time a good time to enjoy a pie, but there are three Pie Days celebrated in America, two of them just as the America Pie Council has decreed. Honest — three days.

Right now, I’ve got the first National Pie Day circled on my calendar for Dec. 1.

I’m thinking a lovely slice of pumpkin pie will be perfect for the occasion. And I just happen to make a mean pumpkin pie, which I haven’t done in years because my kids much prefer that I make sweet potato pie for the holidays. So, I think pumpkin pie, but make sweet potato pie.

But wait — salvation is near. The second National Pie Day is Jan. 24. I don’t know why. I don’t know why there are two National Pie Days other than the fact that the American Pie Council got started and just couldn’t stop itself.

The board of directors of the council, in its fall meeting, got smoked after sampling blueberry pie, apple pie, pecan pie and some shoo-fly pie. Oh, the crumbs were everywhere! Directors staggered out of the meeting with their multi-stained napkins stuck to their double-breasted suits, drooling in a sugar high.

“We have to do this again,” one pie-drunk director screamed to her colleagues. “Anybody got Jan. 24 open to meet again?”

Directors lifted their forks in agreement and the second National Pie Day was born.

But not all was sweetness in the council. There were rebels. There were nerds.

“They’re doing it all wrong,” they muttered, those disaffected pie-consumers. “Too sweet.”

And the rebels split off to a separate meeting of the minority and ate pizza. Pot pies. Johnnycakes. Yorkshire pudding.

In quiet moments of secrecy and pining for new horizons, the nerds chuckled and pointed fingers at the other directors.

“They even have National Pie Day spelled wrong,” they said, sharing secret handshakes and writing strange symbols on blackboards.

“Of course, it’s Pi Day!!!” they arose, lifting their glasses of kombucha and rubbing rare earths in their hair. So the word went out.

“Let us all celebrate National Pi Day! Embrace a math teacher! Hug a NYDOT engineer who designs rotaries! Marry your prettiest daughter to an actuary!”

The celebrations, crying out for recognition, settled on one significant day a year, March 14. One day before the Ides of March. If Julius Caesar had started National Pi Day himself in 44 B.C., he’d still be around, the nerds swear.

The other National Pie Days are fine, for sure, but National Pi Day is a so special and it lends itself to blended celebration. And if you think those nerds were kidding, our beloved U.S. Congress declared National Pi Day a real thing in 2009. Is America a great country or what?

So how do we celebrate National Pi Day? I am a math teacher and I have a plan. It just so happens that NASA offers “Pi in the Sky” math challenge questions for March 14. Teachers are urged to turbocharge their calculators and grease their pocket-protectors and fuel their kids with tiny pies. Those clever people also wear T-shirts that say: “Come to the Math Side! We have Pi.” Oh, it’s just so glorious.

I plan to wear my “I’m a math teacher: I have problems” T-shirt.

My students will never have more fun sitting behind a desk.