Friday, March 15, 2013

What Would Caesar Say?


Good morning, class!

This morning the subject is Roman Numerals. Our first question is: What is the Roman Numeral for the number 4?

Is it IIII or IV?

Dum…dee…dee…dum…dee…dee (imagine the music they play on Jeopardy when the contestants are trying to come up with an answer in the bonus round)

Last Sunday I looked at the big wall clock in my living room—which has Roman Numerals for numbers—and noticed that the number four was represented by IIII. I thought, “Is that right?”

I looked on the back of the clock and noted that it was made in China.

Now class, you should remember that fact (along with an assumption I made) because it will be on the test later.

Night before last I stayed in the Coastline Hotal in Wilmington. The clock behind the check-in desk had Roman Numerals and the number 4 was represented by IIII.

A-Ha!! I asked the desk clerk to take the clock down and when I looked on the back it was…made in China!

So, my assumption was that some Chinese man or woman, years ago, made an a mistake and used IIII instead of IV and manufacturers repeated the mistake on all the millions of clocks they’ve made since then.

However, when I walked outside yesterday morning I noticed the 15-foot diameter clock on the front of the hotel had the same IIII in place.

Uh oh. Did they look at the clock in the lobby and decide to copy it?

So, whataya think? Here’s the test…Which is correct? IIII or IV?

Dum…dee…dee…dum…dee…dee! (imagine the music again)

It seems, according to Wikipedia, that either is correct, but the IIII is often used on clocks. Is there a logic? None that I can find.

Am I a xenophobe, hating people just because they are from another country? No. The Chinese are smart people…well…other than the fact that all the haircuts for men look like Moe from The Three Stooges.

But, I made an assumption. And we know what happens when we assume something.

However, I followed up and looked for an answer and it only took a few minutes. I didn’t spend days or years or the rest of my life operating on an incorrect assumption.

What’s a belief, thought or assumption you have that you kinda question? It probably won’t take but a moment to find the answer.

Have a great weekend…if you like basketball the madness is beginning!

See you Monday.

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