Dear Dr. Boli: Yesterday on Murray Avenue I parked behind a Japanese car that identified itself as a “PZEV,” which was spelled out in smaller letters as “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle.” What does that mean? I haven’t been able to sleep since I saw it. —Sincerely, William C. Ford, Jr.

Dear Sir: You are right to be concerned, and your sleeplessness is indicative of a proper regard for the laws of mathematics. In their quest to squeeze ever more power out of a drop of oil, and to find a way to burn odoriferous chemicals without causing odoriferous smoke, automobile manufacturers have resorted to many a shady trick; but dividing zero into parts crosses the line from fraudulent to outright dangerous. There is no knowing what such a frontal assault on the foundations of arithmetic will lead to. If the rumors that General Motors has been selling unmarked Zero-Dividend Vehicles in the United States prove true, Dr. Boli trembles for the order of the universe.


  1. Caren says:

    If you were to walk around to its other side, you would find the entire left side of the car missing. This is what makes it a “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle.”

  2. JoeBob says:

    Caren, if you will note in Mr. Ford’s inquiry, he was parked behind the vehicle in question, therefore it would necessarily have been the front of the partial vehicle that was missing, rather than the left side. Other than that, I can find no objection to your reasoning.

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