Sam talks to Toby outside Sam's office, where Bernice is waiting. Sam says that Bernice is "making a certain amount of sense." Toby asks, "Isn't this one of those things that can be argued from all sides?" Sam: "Yes." Toby: "And in one way or another, they're all right?" Sam says yes. Toby tells Sam to put the numbers together in a way that gives Bartlet's administration fewer poor people or, if they have to use the new formula, to delay as long as possible in order to test it.
Sam returns to his office, telling a joke as he enters, about three statisticians who've gone deer hunting: "The first one misses ten feet to the left. The second one misses ten feet to the right. The third one jumps up and down and says, 'I hit it!'" Bernice is not amused. Sam says, "You gotta like a guy who comes up with a statistical analysis joke." Bernice is stone-faced. Sam adds, "Certainly you would if you had let me call you 'Bernie.'" Sam asks whether they shouldn't test the math before the President signs off on it -- create a pilot program and test it for a couple of years. That sounds like an excellent waste of money. She replies, "'Test the math'? You think we did this with an abacus?" Hey, don't talk trash about abacuses: they're just as extraordinarily helpful as calculators and crash way less often. I gave Professor Frink an abacus (among other things) for his birthday this year, though I have to admit, as fascinating as he finds them, he seems to prefer his graphing and scientific calculators and his Handspring Visor. Also, an abacus does not actually compute; it helps the user keep track of numbers as she does the computing. A skilled abacus user can do calculations as fast as a person using a calculator. Sam, still trying to charm Bernice, says, "I've always wanted to learn how to work an abacus. 'Cause on the first date, when the cheque comes, and you pull that thing out of your pocket and start adding up the tip..." I foresee future dialogue for Ainsley: "Is that an ancient Chinese calculation instrument in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?" Bernice replies, "Well, that, and your statistics jokes, will have you blazing a path through the capital women." He replies, "Hey, lady, I get my share...sort of..." No, actually he doesn't. He says that the new formula doesn't take into account regional differences in housing costs. Bernice acknowledges this. Sam asks, "You don't think it's worth it?" Bernice says they took the national mean. Sam: "How do you suppose landlords in New York and L.A. feel about the national mean?" Probably not as badly as their tenants. ["Plus, L.A.? Try San Francisco." -- Wing Chun] Bernice says that was debated, but that it was agreed that it was too difficult to assess when the costs changed from year to year. Sam: "So you dropped the problem when the math gets tough?" Bernice tries to respond, but Sam says that Miss Holly Orshansky of Poland wouldn't be very pleased by that. It's kind of an inane remark, since we really don't know Orshansky's level of devotion to math in the first place. Bernice points out that the woman's name was Molly, not Holly. Sam thought it was Holly. What. Ever.