Jarred T. Thistlewind was always the last person to show up for the party. He was also the last guy to show up for work, and to stand idly by at the bus stop on the corner of Courier Street and Phelps Avenue on his way to work, and he was even two weeks late to wish his wife of seven years a "Happy Anniversary" greeting on April 8, along with a bottle of Pinot noir, which they always drank in bed together the same night he offered his lady this red, wet, tasty gift.
"Jerry, you're late every day," his boss at the actuary firm would always say to him. "You're only late by one or two minutes, but my gawd, man, I can set my watch to 8:02 a.m., with complete accuracy, just by your daily arrival."
Felix Montrose was a nice guy. He'd never fire Jarred for being late. No, Jarred was the brightest and best worker he had. He was very good with numbers and had the numeric ability to figure even the most difficult of actuary equations in his head as if this star egghead at STAR*qUesT Numerical SOL*uTIONS LLC was afflicted with the same disease as idiot savants.
One day, some actuary numerical equations came up and the numerical problem was to find the square root of 99,999,000,000,000,000,000.
The entire firm was seated at a long table and the penciilheads looked like a family of gophers sticking their heads out of a big hole after a rattlesnake had just slithered its way across their little stretch of the prairie outback.
After a two-second silence, Jarred T. Thistlewind barked, "The square root of 99,999,000,000,000,000,000 is 9,999,949,999.875!"
Everyone at the long table snatched their pocket calculators and started punching in the long grouping of numbers.
"He's right. He's got it down to the last three digits," said Lucy Mulberry, the firm's CEO.
"Amazing. Give that man a raise, Felix. We need him," said Tom Wolfe, a longstanding member of the firm who couldn't work his way up the corporate ladder. One of the reasons was because Wolfe and Thistlewind took long, wet, three-hour lunchbreaks at The Gizo & Gadget Tavern, a few doors down from STAR*qUesT Numerical SOL*uTIONS LLC on Basic Avenue.
"He's not getting a raise yet," Felix said. "Not until he proves himself as an asset to the firm. Jarred's still on probation."
"Don't tell me he didn't use a calculator," Ulber Zilchapedabust, a Russian scientist holding a green card, griped.
"Did you see Jarred whip out a calculator? Did you? Nope. He did it all in his head," Tom Wolfe said.
"Thanks for being on my fighting side, bro," Thistlewind whispered. He had a little tear streaming down his cheek, emotionally hurt that most in his firm doubted his abilities as a math freak.
"Don't cry, Jarred," the big boss smiled. "If you keep cracking these numbers during these crucial times and cut down those three-hour wet lunches to two, that raise is coming, baby, it's good as gold."
"Thanks, Felix, you're such a nice guy," Jarred said with a beaming smile.
Overall, Jarred was a totally lackluster guy, all except in the area of having superior, even super-hero, mathematics skills. In high school, he played football and although he made the varsity team, he was a third-string middle guard (for a tiny school in the middle of nowhere). All his girlfriends were plain janes who wore coke bottle glasses. In fact, his wife suffered the same demise, but she has a killer body. She never flaunts this, though, preferring to wear clothing akin to tent-sized burlap sacks. And Jarred was terrible with English and anything having to do with words. When he was in middle-school, he was the first to be bounced from his class of 13's annual spelling bee."
But he always had an uncanny way with numbers. When he was an infant, before he was even able to talk, Jarred's father was stymied by a mathematical problem. A lifelong smoker, Jarred's father asked his mother, "Hey babe, I quit smoking five years ago and now I'm 35. How long have I been off those death dragons?"
"Dada, you quit dem dare cancer sticks when you was 30," came a tiny little voice from a nearby crib in the living room.
Jarred's mother and father stared at one another, in disbelief.