Riding the Gravy Train

July 29, 2013 at 3:32 pm Leave a comment

I was recently telling a friend about the success of my book. “I don’t get it,” he said. “You write a few math jokes, and you’re riding the gravy train!”

This raises a few issues.

First of all, what the hell is a gravy train? Have they started carrying gravy by rail? Are there people at the train station with satchels of mashed potatoes, waiting for the five-fifteen to arrive?

Gravy Train

Second, creating jokes is hard. Creating math jokes is even harder. And creating funny math jokes is nearly impossible — as anyone who reads this blog can attest.

Third, I am not riding the gravy train. According to Wiktionary, riding the gravy train refers to “any lucrative endeavor that generates considerable income whilst requiring little effort and carrying little risk.” My book has sold well, and I am thankful for the minor level of celebrity it has brought me. But it has not allowed a lifestyle change. It’s not like the profits are enough for a new car. Heck, they aren’t even enough for a new bike! Maybe a helmet, if I shop at a second-hand store.

Finally, where did the expression riding the gravy train come from? The phrase everything else is gravy is sometimes used to describe a situation where expenses are covered and a significant profit remains. In addition, train rides are enjoyable — while you relax in comfort, a train takes you where you want to go. Conventional wisdom says that gravy train is the result when you put these two phrases together.

Here’s a math joke involving trains.

Q: You board a train in Newark that travels south at 15 mph. At the same time, your friend boards a train in Trenton that travels north at 25 mph. How long before you pass each other?

A: What the hell are you doing in Jersey?

Here’s another, though you’ve probably heard this one before.

Some math and engineering students boarded a train to a convention. Each of the math majors had a ticket, but the engineering students had only one ticket between them.

The math majors were laughing about this when an engineering student shouted, “Conductor!” With that, all the engineering majors squeezed into a bathroom. The intrigued math students watched as the conductor knocked on the bathroom door and said, “Ticket, please.” The conductor took the single ticket that was slid under the door, and left.

Not to be outdone, the math students boarded the return train without a ticket. The engineers laughed.

The engineer lookout yelled, “Conductor!” All of the engineering students crowded into one bathroom, while the math majors piled into another. Then, before the conductor entered the car, one of the math majors came out of his bathroom, knocked on the engineering students’ door, and said, “Ticket, please.”

And if you like Ozzy Ozborne, or if you enjoy terrible poetry, then you might appreciate the following revised lyrics for one of Ozzy’s songs.

Gravy Train (to the tune of Crazy Train by Ozzy Ozborne)

Gravy, for mashed potatoes
Millions of gallons ready to flo-o-o-ow
Maybe it’s not too late
To learn how to love
My liquid brown freight

Potatoes so appealing
Other sides are lame —
I’m rolling down the rails on a gravy train
I’m rolling down the rails on a gravy train…

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , .

Can’t Argue with That Math in Great Literature

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

Past Posts

July 2013
M T W T F S S
« Jun   Aug »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Enter your email address to subscribe to the MJ4MF blog and receive new posts via email.

Join 243 other followers

Visitor Locations

free counters

%d bloggers like this: