Pi Day festivities at Petsi Pie in Somerville

photo by stuart caie/flickr

We’ve heard the saying “an eye for an eye.”

Well, Thursday, March 14 it’s pi for a pie.

At exactly 1:59 p.m., Renee McLeod’s Petsi Pies shop hosted a pi (3.14159 …) reciting contest where memorizing digits of the infinite number could win you free sweets.Every year for the past nine years, McLeod hosted this event which started because she was obsessed with the irrational number herself. For 13-year-old Saam Rasool, this is his first time taking on Petsi’s challenge. He heard about the event through his school.

“He’s been practicing for a week,” Rasool’s mother admits. “He knows 316 digits.”

“I wanted to break the school record,” which was 259 digits Rasool explains.

But it looks like Heath School has a new record holder because Rasool surpassed the previous record, citing 285 digits and taking home a large pie for his family. Mama seemed very proud.

Another challenger hailed from Somerville. Theo Lanman, who sang back 100 digits for a large pie, heard about the contest through a friend.

 “It’s something I did in middle school,” Lanman says. “My teacher had the numbers hanging up in the classroom. Got really bored and memorized it. I didn’t learn much that year,” he jokes.

See? That geometry class wasn’t a waste after all. If you hurry, there’s still time to pick up a piece. Petsi closes at 7 p.m.

Here are the prizes, if your brain can handle it:

• Recite 10 digits – win a “cutie” pie
• Recall 100 digits – take home a large pie
• Remember 314 digits – get a pie for every season

Talbot, a worker at the shop, shared that this pi(e) day was rather unusual.  While he says the turnout for the contest seemed consistent compared to previous years, the amount of pre-ordered pies for today was like no other.

“On a regular day, four deliveries seem like a busy day.  But today we had nineteen deliveries and they were in large amounts too.  We had one order that was like 140 pies.”

This is Petsi’s 9th annual pi celebration, not to mention, it’s Albert Einstein’s birthday. We wonder if he had a pie instead of a birthday cake for his big day. It only seems fitting.