I edited a humor magazine in college. We were a knuckleheaded bunch. In our third-story office, some writer had vandalized our life-sized cutout of David Ortiz, so the Red Sox jersey now read “Bread Sux.” Others had scribbled below, “Yeah man! Down with bread!”
But our office needed a couch. So one day, when a sofa appeared on the street, five of us gathered to carry it up the narrow stairway to the office.
Not being idiots, we took measurements of the couch first. “It won’t fit,” Simon concluded. “The couch is 34” by 38” by 76”. The doorway is 30” by 78”. There’s no way to make that work – the couch is short enough, but too wide.”
“What do numbers even mean, anyway?” said David. “I say we try it.”
So, being idiots, we did. Five pasty goof-offs, I among them, heaved the couch all the way up the stairs. “We’re starting a moving service,” Adam explained to a poor girl trying to squeeze past us. “So far we’ve just done small stuff, like pencils and goldfish crackers. This is our first couch! Give us a high-five!” She complied, her eyes showing pity and a bit of fear.
Finally we arrived, sweating and panting, on the landing outside the office.
“Now what, David?” Judd asked.
We realized with a sinking feeling that we’d exerted all that effort in blind trust of David, who reminded me a little of Kramer from Seinfeld. I was reminded of the ancient saying: Never, ever trust a humor writer.
“Well, I suppose we might as well try it,” David said, looking at the door. We positioned the couch vertically in the doorway.
“See?” I said. “It won’t fit.”
“Oh,” David said, “oh dear.” Then he twisted the couch, and like magic, it slid through the door and into the office.
“Whoa!” we cried. “David! How did you know that would happen?”
David paused thoughtfully, donning some nearby Groucho Marx glasses. “This right here, boys,” he said, “is why you never rely on a two-dimensional model to solve a three-dimensional problem.”
We’d pictured the door as a flat plane, which is fair enough. But then we’d tried to reduce the couch to a flat plane as well, and that was our mistake. We hadn’t allowed for the possibility of rotating it. But David – a Physics major who, it turns out, was doing independent research on 3D modeling – had.
It remains the only time in my life that someone told me the moral of the story immediately after the event. The couch is still there. David has long since graduated, and when the time comes to get the couch out, I’m not sure anyone will know how.
Note: As usual, imagination has plugged the holes in memory – though David is every bit as mysterious and adorable as described. More so, really.
Anyone have other stories of 2D models proving inadequate for 3D problems?