The elderly man, determined to secure a job, faced the foreman’s unconventional math test with a mixture of humor and ingenuity.
The foreman began the test, asking the first question, “Without using numbers, represent the number nine?”
The old man chuckled and replied confidently, “That’s easy.” With a few swift strokes of his hand, he drew three trees on a piece of paper.
The boss raised an eyebrow and inquired, “What’s this?”
The old man beamed, “Have you no brain? Tree plus tree plus tree makes nine.”
The boss, impressed by the clever response, nodded and said, “Fair enough.”
Encouraged, the foreman posed the second question, “Use the same rules, but this time the number is 99?”
The elderly man stared into space for a moment, lost in thought. Then, he picked up the picture he had just drawn and made a smudge on each tree before handing it back.
The boss scratched his head in confusion, “How on earth do you get that to represent 99?”
The old man chuckled and explained, “Each of the trees is dirty now. So, it’s a dirty tree plus a dirty tree plus a dirty tree. That makes 99.”
The boss had to admire the man’s creative thinking and said, “All right, last question. Same rules again, but represent the number 100?”
The old man stared into space once more, pondering the challenge. After a brief pause, he picked up the picture and made a small mark at the base of each tree before handing it back to the boss.
The foreman examined the picture, puzzled. “You must be nuts if you think that represents a hundred.”
Leaning forward, the elderly man pointed to the marks at the base of each tree and whispered with a mischievous grin, “A little dog came along and pooped by each tree. So now you’ve got a dirty tree and a turd, plus a dirty tree and a turd, plus a dirty tree and a turd, which makes 100.”
The boss couldn’t help but burst into laughter at the old man’s witty and unexpected response. He extended his hand and said, “You’ve certainly passed the test with flying colors! Welcome to the team.” And so, the elderly man, with his quick wit and unique perspective, earned his place at the job he so dearly wanted.