How many MIT graduates

does it take to divvy up

a lunch check


not this lucky 7

all of us well into the dotage

of our eighth decade


it doesn’t help that

the waiter forgets

one of the orders


so our most vocal member

eats only the leftovers

from the other 6


what is his fair share

and how should service

figure in the tip


to complicate

the math further

2 choose to split the tab


on separate credit cards

then collect cash from the rest

but our faithful waiter


manages to run

one card twice

and ignore the other


the number of variables

keeps growing

some cash payers


put in more than their share

and want change

while others offer extra


in case there’s a short fall—

once upon a time

each and every one of us


met such mathematical quandaries

and prevailed

but 50 years on


all talk at once

while 20 dollar bills fly around the table

grabbed hand from hand


counted and re-counted

other diners stare in disbelief

at these brazen old men


red faced and out of control

it would take only one of them

to change a light bulb


but to sort this puzzle out

7 is either way too many

Or not nearly enough