Tomorrow, 2/7, is the day we celebrate *e*-day, in honor of the number e≈2.7182…. And celebrate we do: there are decorations, and *e*-related foods (browniEs, e-clairs, pi(e), etc.) and an *e*-day quiz. So it’s a big deal around here. And sometimes dangerous.

The date was February 7, 2005. The time was 5:00am. I’d gotten up early to cook, and this year decided to try a recipe that involved baking the brownies, then putting white chocolate chips and crushed candy canes on top. I placed the whole pan under the broiler for a few minutes for the chips to soften before spreading them around. And I’m sure all would have gone well if TwoPi hadn’t asked from the dining room, “Hey, are there any nonzero integers *a*, *b*, and *c* such that ?” Naturally I started to work on that question, and forgot all about the brownies.

Until the fire alarm went off.

Click for the rest of the story, plus a solution to the math problem.