“251 Mercer street” I said, “it is in the village,” “I know that” said the driver “are you going to NYU?” “Yes” I said. I was going to give a lecture at Ricky and Eli’s Tuesday evening’s Geometry Seminar and came earlier to have a chance to chat with the guys. “Let me tell you something” the driver said, “I did not finish elementary school, I left in the 6th grade and started working, and everyday I come home and have sex. My friends who finished elementary school have sex 2-3 times a week, tops. And , you know,” continued the driver “those who went on to finish high school, they have sex maybe once a week, no more.” “I see,” I said. “Some people” continued the driver “go to college and they get a degree, BA or BSc or something like this.” he paused and continued ”these people have sex once a month at best!”
I could see where this was heading. “Some people go to graduate school, if they are lucky they leave after one year with a master’s degree,” (I was impressed by my taxi driver’s knowledge of the academic system), “they may still have sex a few times a year, but those who stay there longer, my friend,” the driver said in a screamy cheerful voice ”I don’t even want to think about them.”
We reached NYU and before I left the driver asked, “and you mister, you look educated, what academic degree do you have?”
I looked him straight in the eyes and said “I have a B. Sc”.
Updates: Andrei Zelevinsky had a post (in russian) following this taxi-story, and Simon Litsyn presented a Russian translation! I do not understand it, but I suppose that 251 is 251 and then “Mepcep” must be “Mercer”. Is “Гиль Калай” my name? The story was picked up in several other places and gathered additional comments of various kind.