Ramanujan, Srinivasa (1887-1920)
Ramanujan, Srinivasa 1
[Ramanujan took ill while visiting England and died soon after returning home to India. Fellow mathematician J.E. Littlewood recounts a conversation with him:]
I remember once going to see him when he was lying ill at Putney. I had ridden in taxicab number 1729, and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I
hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. "No," he replied, "it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways."
- Fadiman, Clifton, ed. The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes (Boston; Toronto: Little, Brown, 1985).
A successful business man flew to Vegas for the weekend to gamble. He lost the shirt off his back, and had nothing left but a quarter and the 2nd half of his round trip ticket
home -- if he could just get to the airport he could get himself home.
So, he went out to the front of the casino where there was a cab waiting. He got in and explained his situation to the cabbie. He promised to send the driver money from home,
he offered him his credit card numbers, his driver license number, his address, etc, but to no avail. The cabbie said "If you don't have fifteen dollars, get the hell out of my
cab!!" So, the business man was forced to hitch hike to the airport and was barely in time to catch his flight.
One year later, the business man, having worked long and hard to regain his financial success, returned to Vegas and this time he won big. Feeling pretty good about himself, he
went out to the front of the casino to get a cab ride back to the airport. Well, who should he see out there at the end of a long line of cabs, but his old buddy who had
refused to give him a ride when he was down on his luck. The business man thought for a moment about how he could make the guy pay for his lack of charity, and he hit on a
The business man got in the 1st cab in the line, "How much for a ride to the airport," he asked? "Fifteen bucks" came the reply.
"And how much for you to give me a blow job on the way?"
"What???!!!! Get the hell out of my cab."
The business man got into the back of each cab in the long line and
asked the same questions with the same results. When he got to his old friend at the back of the line, he got in and asked "How much for a ride to the airport"? The cabbie
replied "Fifteen bucks" The business man said "OK" and off they went.
Then, as they drove slowly past the long line of cabs the business man gave a big smile and thumbs up sign to each driver.
- Martin, Jim. Posting to TAXI-L, July 12, 1997. "From the Multiple Sclerosis mailing list".
This is a true story that was reported recently by the New York Sun.
A man named Rabinowitz came out of a restaurant just as a taxi was driving off. He yelled, "Taxi," and the driver stopped for him. "Bathgate and Tremont Avenues," he ordered.
When the cab arrived there, Rabinowitz alighted, walked into the Bronx police headquarters, emerged with two cops, and arrested the driver. It was Rabinowitz's taxicab.
Drunk to Taxi Driver: "Home, James."
- Cerf, Bennett. Anything for a Laugh (N.Y.: Grosset and Dunlap, 1946).
Taxi Driver: "What d'ya mean -- Home James? This is a public taxi."
Drunk: "Oh, very well. Home, Jesse James."
Things don't happen as often now as they did in the old days. Most of the boys today are honest but poor not like in the old days when they came tough in this racket. And it was
a racket then! You had to be tough. Why in the early 1920's, a driver had to be tough to stand all the "stick up" gaff! Those that could not stand it had to quit and many quit.
Why we used to have several stick ups per man every week! We were pretty careful at nite time not to pick any suspicious characters and on dark streets. We'd just pass them by.
They worked it slick by hailing a cab and asking to be driven to some dive where several other "mugs" were waiting for the sucker for all they could get out of him. It was a
regular business till the police caught up with it.
Cab, n. A tormenting vehicle in which a pirate jolts you through devious ways to the wrong place, where he robs you.
- Cantor, Eddie. World's Book of Best Jokes (N.Y., World Publishing Co., 1945, c1943).
[Bierce's acerbic definitions were first published in the 1870's in San Francisco newspapers.]
"What is the modern world coming to when a gang of thieves arrive at the place they are going to rob in a taxi?" Justice Morris asked the defendants in a robbery case at the
Auckland High Court. "I despair of the future for our country when a group of louts like you lack the intelligence to take even basic precautions to evade detection."
- Bierce, Ambrose. The Enlarged Devil's Dictionary. (E.J. Hopkins, ed. Garden City, N.Y., Doubleday, 1967).
Before sentencing Sineli Senivuga and Veileba Jobesa (two illegal Fijian immigrants) for their part in the robbery of 5 protective helmets and 400 puncture repair outfits from a
Mt. Eden bicycle shop, Justice Morris continued: "It has been put to me that the reason you were so easily apprehended after the robbery was that you had no getaway car.
According to your defense counsel, that is because you forgot to ask the taxi to wait for you while you committed the crime. But even more stupidly, you had telephoned the taxi
service in the first place and asked to be picked up at your home, so even if you had got away it would have been a simple matter to locate and arrest you later."
"Why couldn't you steal a car beforehand, like everybody else? You tell me it's because you don't have licences, but I preside daily over cases involving professional criminals
who don't care about such trivial matters. You are imbeciles. I hereby sentence you both to five years in jail."
- Helesic, Scott. Posting to TAXI-L, February 12, 1997. "This article was originally culled from the alt.tasteless Usenet group."
- Southland (New Zealand) Times, 4/8/1996.
Andersen, Hans Christian 1
A boy and his date were parked on a back road some distance from town, doing what boys and girls do on back roads some distance from town, when the girl stopped the boy.
"I really should have mentioned this earlier, but I'm actually a
hooker and I charge $20 for sex."
The boy reluctantly paid her, and they did their thing.
After the cigarette, the boy just sat in the driver's seat looking out the window.
"Why aren't we going anywhere?" asked the girl.
"Well, I should have mentioned this before, but I'm actually a taxi driver, and the fare back to town is $25."
Gertie: "That fresh taxicab driver offered me a quarter for a kiss."
- Martin, Jim. Posting to TAXI-L, July 12, 1997.
Friend: "What are you looking in your pocketbook for?"
Gertie: "Gee! I thought I'd lost the quarter."
My sister thought she had mastered the Spanish language until her recent visit to Panama. She was returning at midnight from a night spot with her husband in an open taxi. It
was pouring rain and the driver was speeding like a madman down a curving road. She called out to him in a loud voice: "Stop! You are ruining my hat! What's the hurry? We have
all night. Stop, I say!"
- Cantor, Eddie. World's Book of Best Jokes (N.Y., World Publishing Co., 1945, c1943).
But none of her commands were heeded. When they reached the hotel she popped out and started to give the driver a piece of her mind. When she was through he calmly shrugged his
"I'm sorry madam," he said. "I thought you two were making love."
The Ford taxi suddenly came to a halt in the middle of the street.
- Smith, Daisine.
- Quoted in: Reader's Digest Fun & Laughter: A Treasure House of Humor, (N.Y.: Reader's Digest, 1968).
"What's the matter?" called the man from the back seat.
"I thought the young lady said 'stop,'" answered the chauffeur.
"Well, she wasn't speaking to you."
Millie: "I went out last night with a Southerner. He took me to dinner and dancing and was a perfect gentleman. Then he took me home in a cab."
- Johnston, William. Bill Johnston's Second Joy Book (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1925).
Lillie: "What happened then?"
Millie: "He got a bit Northern."
A Thunderstorm in Town
- Brande, Jacob M. Brande's Treasury of Wit and Humor for All Occasions (Revised edition; Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1991).
A Reminiscence: 1893
She wore a new terra-cotta dress,
And we stayed, because of the pelting storm,
Within the hansom's dry recess,
Though the horse had stopped; yea, motionless
We sat on, snug and warm.
Then the downpour ceased, to my sharp sad pain
And the glass that had screened our forms before
Flew up, and out she sprang to her door:
I should have kissed her if the rain
Had lasted a minute more.
I've been in too many taxis not to know that a girl is lots safer with an orchestra between her and the tired business man, who don't act nearly as tired as you'd think.
- Hardy, Thomas. Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy (Samuel Hynes, ed.; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984), vol. II.
- McEvoy, Joseph Patrick. Showgirl (London, Brentano's, 1928).
- Quoted in: Cohen, J.M. and Cohen, M.J., eds. Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1971).
Root, Elihu (1845-1937)
Root, Elihu 1
[U.S. jurist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1912. He also helped to found the League of Nations.]
When James B. Reynolds was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, Senator Root sent for Mr. Reynolds one day to discuss with him some matter concerning a trade conference in Paris
which Mr. Reynolds had been selected to attend.
"I suppose," said Mr. Root, "you speak French?"
"Well, yes," responded Mr. Reynolds. "I know a little French. I have no trouble to make the waiters and the cab drivers understand me."
"I see," said Mr. Root. "But, Mr. Reynolds, suppose there should be no waiters and cab drivers at the conference?"
- Fuller, Edmund. Thesaurus of Anecdotes (Garden City, N.Y.: Garden City Publishing Co., Inc., 1948, c1943).
Rothschild, Sir Nathan Meyer (1840-1915)
Rothschild, Sir Nathan Meyer 1
Alighting from a hansom cab one evening Lord Rothschild gave the driver what he felt to be an adequate tip. "Your lordship's son always gives me a good deal more than this,"
said the driver, eyeing the money disdainfully. "I daresay he does," retorted Lord Rothschild. "But then, you see, he has a rich father; I haven't."
- Faulkner, Alex, and Hartman, Tom. All the Best People... The Pick of Peterborough, 1929-1945 (Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1981).
- Quoted in: Fadiman, Clifton, ed. The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes (Boston; Toronto: Little, Brown, 1985).
Russell, Bertrand (1872-1970)
Russell, Bertrand 1
My husband, T.S. Eliot, loved to recount how late one evening he stopped a taxi. As he got in, the driver said: "You're T.S. Eliot." When asked how he knew, he replied: "Ah,
I've got an eye for a celebrity. Only the other evening I picked up Bertrand Russell, and I said to him: 'Well, Lord Russell, what's it all about,' and, do you know, he couldn't
- Eliot, Valerie. Letter to The Times, 1970.
- Quoted in: Metcalf, Fred, compiler. Penguin Dictionary of Modern Humorous Quotations (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin, 1986).
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Revised November 11, 1998