You do not know the power of the mathematical side…

Was talking to another graduate student; one with a dark secret in his past: in the days of the dim past, he began as a major of an inferior type (i.e. not as one of mathematics), but then switched, beguiled to the Dark Side by the power of functions, which he had underestimated.

Which naturally led to me remarking that it would be really interesting to see a certain different saga of human life reworked: namely the story of the young, idealistic graduate student Anakin Skywalker, a child prodigy of many job offers and great successes in the world outside, seduced by the twisted old Emeritus Palpatine to become one of the Tenure Overlords of the Sith; and his latter days as the raspy-voiced husk of a man called Professor Vader.

And the story of his son, of course, much tempted to follow a similar path —

“Luke… I am your thesis advisor!”


(And, in the end of the third installment, the Revenge of the Sin(x); Vader’s own report to the knowledge that he will not graduate this year either, and his girlfriend has left: “Noooo!”)

Also featuring the hairy biology student W. Chewbacca, the dashing frat boy Han “Kegger” Solo, and the university administration official-drones C-3PO’d and R2-XPSP3. (And the eccentric Ben “Book-Learnin'” Kenobi, much distrusted by the earthy common folk of the Tatooine Unincorporated Township.)


“It is a period of academic reorganization.
Rebel docents, striking
from a hidden base, have won
their first victory against
the evil Dept. of Maths.

During the battle, Rebel
spies managed to steal secret
plans to the Department’s
ultimate weapon, the TENURE
STAR, an armored work
station with enough power
to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Department’s
sinister agents (pay grade 4D), M.Sc.
Leia O. races home aboard her
bicycle, custodian of the
stolen plans that can save her
people (the undergrads) and restore
freedom to the university…”

* * *

“Mudhole? Slimy? My office this is! You big-city university people, hmmm, some serious respect lack. Now the worksheet complete, while I on your shoulders sit.”

* * *

“There is no escape. Don’t make me destroy you. You do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me and I will complete your Ph.D.; with our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the university.”

“I’ll never join you!”

“If you only knew the power of the dark side. (Function theory, that is.) Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.”

“He told me enough! He told me you killed him. You were his thesis advisor; you worked him to death.”

“No. I am your father. And I will be your thesis advisor.”

Shocked, Luke looks at Vader in utter disbelief.

“No. No. That’s not true! That’s impossible!”

“Search your feelings. And look in your mailbox. You know it to be true.”

“No! No! No!”

“Luke. You can destroy the Emeritus Emperor. He has foreseen this; it in on the intranet. It is your destiny. Join me, and we can rule the university as father and son. Come with me. It’s the only way.”

Luke drops; Vader looks down in disbelief.


* * *

“Use the forc— wait, is this the physics problem sheet, or maths? Oh! Use partial integration, Luke!”

* * *

Dear empty heavens, there’s no end to the bad jokes one could perpetrate.

2 Responses to “You do not know the power of the mathematical side…”

  1. Bob O'H Says:

    “Integrate this – it is your density”

  2. masksoferis Says:

    (giggle) (snort) Good one!

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