Opinion: Easy as pi


Last week, we celebrated International Pi Day. It recognizes the mathematical constant beginning with 3.14 and proceeding for infinity. Some use the annual acknowledgment as an excuse to show off their ability to recite the memorized calculation to the furthest decimal point. Some (most of us would prefer this category) use the occasion to eat pie. It is a tasty homonym. Is there ever a bad reason to eat pie? And some ignore the whole affair altogether. One could assume a negative experience with a pie chart left them cold. Pi, Π, and even pie, fail to interest.

Yet for most, our fascination with the arithmetic symbol, Greek letter, dessert, or chart has never waned. The American Pie Council (yes, there is such a thing) even includes an amateur membership for folks who just really, really like pie. Not to be outdone, the pizza pie crew claims that every American eats about 23 pounds of the cheesy slices annually.  That’s a lot of pepperoni.

Pi is useful. Look it up. Pie is useful. Eat it down. Even the humble pie chart has its utility. We humans are list makers. We outline the many things that we must do, each in order and in its own time. Too often, we can conceal our desire to avoid the important by putting it so far down our list that we seldom, if ever, get to it. How would we live our lives if they were organized like a pie chart instead of a bullet-point list? Do family, career and other objectives fill our thinking and planning, or just our time? Do we address those things that will bring the most result or only those next on the list? Do we worry for the sliver and ignore the whole?


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