Know Your Limits

July 24, 2008
By Bethany Corbin, Mooresville, NC

Mono the monkey hung from a tree,
The ruler of all that he could see.
A prince of the swamp,
And king of the land,
But limits were one thing he didn’t understand.

I need a plan, he said to the cow,
To be king of the world I must know how
To defeat the green dragon
And keep the pig at bay
But what limits are, no one will say.

You can find a limit from a graph,
Explained the young and beautiful calf.
Just trace your finger along the line.
Look at the “x” as it approaches the “y”
And that is the limit you should supply.

I cannot draw, the monkey confessed,
Realizing the difficulty of his new quest,
It doesn’t matter, the lion growled,
Use an equation
To stop the invasion!

I know it sounds complex,
But you just plug c into f(x),
The lion snorted, then walked away.
That’s it? Mono said,
I could do that math in my head!

But still I am no hero,
For in my denominator, I have a zero!
This cannot be, the monkey sighed,
And he closed his eyes and started to cry,
Why, oh why do I even try?

If you want some satisfaction,
Then you have to factor the stupid fraction,
The sloth explained as it passed right by.
Plug “c” into the equation that has been reduced,
And use the limit that is produced.

But still it is zero! This isn’t fair,
The limit is hiding, but where, oh where?
A human saw Mono and came to say,
Find the values to the left and right,
The number they approach is a beautiful sight.

That is your limit – the one right there,
But if the numbers are different, then you better beware!
Mono looked frightened as the human continued,
The limit has not been missed,
The limit simply does not exist.

The author's comments:
Never underestimate the power of AP Calculus extra credit.

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