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"With love and patience, nothing is impossible." - Daisaku Ikeda

 

I tried to perform The Human-Computer, as a street performer in several locations in New York City with limited success. Finally, I decided to do it inside my taxi cab. Inside my cab, I have been doing this since August of 2000. Ever since then, I was written up many times in the newspapers, in the blogs I was known as well for the radio stations. There was one time that the local TV news station ABC recognized my talent and I was famous for my “15 minutes of fame” in approximately 2, and half minutes, you can find links to all these materials on the Media page of this website.

But to give you an idea of how I perform The Human-Computer inside my taxi cab I should let you be aware of the article in The New York Times with some bonus pictures and some corrections. Why do I make some corrections? Because I asked all the reporters to show me the final draft to fix all their mistakes, but they decline to do so. Because they don’t care what other people may think what is to be seen.

I would like to know what you think about it; I am open for discussions. Just give me your thought using my contact information page of this site. If I get responses, I will probably put them on a different page of this site.

 

New York Times: The City


By BORIS FISHMAN
Published: May 29, 2005

FOR those lacking cab-ride entertainment since television screens were discontinued in taxis in 2003, there is hope. It comes in the form of Oleg Roitman, a. k. a. The Human-Computer, an immigrant cab driver from Ukraine who regales fares with a flashy sleight of mind: Give Mr. Roitman any date - say, your birthday - and within a second, he will tell you what day of the week it was.
On a recent Saturday afternoon, Mr. Roitman demonstrated his skill to a passenger named Mary, who was going to Whole Foods at Union Square. In a thick Russian accent, Mr. Roitman directed Mary to read a sign explaining his talent.
 



Photographer Frances Roberts for The New York Times.
Oleg Roitman's math skills go far beyond finding an a
ddress.





On the sign in the cab:
Hello, I am a street performer, known as
THE HUMAN-COMPUTER.
I specialize in mental math. My favorite trick is: if you tell me (in Russian or English) any date (month, day, year), for example, the date of your birth - in less than a second I will tell you on which day of the week you were born (Monday, Tuesday, etc.). I calculate in my head extremely quickly - yes, yes, I am a genius! Please tell me the month only by word (January, February, etc.) and not by number!
To verify that my answers are correct, I always carry a book with calendars from 1900-2020. But you MUST know, unlike any government, I don't make mistakes!
In this way, you can find out the day of the week you, your friends, and relatives were born.
I don't charge a fixed price for this service. Just pay me what you think my service is worth.
Special for the third millennium: When you pay me for determining the day of the week when your first two spouses were born, I will, FOR FREE, tell you on what day of the week your third spouse was born.
Again: you don't have to know the day of the week you were born on, I will tell you, and I have a calendar with me to prove it!
Note: the main reason I do this is the same reason you go to work.
Please be aware that people like The Human-Computer make New York City a famous place in the World!






 
"Can you guess my weight or height?" Mary asked hopefully.
"No, only dates," Mr. Roitman answered. "What's your birthday?"
"March 13."
"And what year?"
"I'm not telling you!"
"Come on!" Mr. Roitman persisted.
"Well, be kind now," she said. "1952."
"Thursday, young lady, Thursday!" Mr. Roitman boomed as he scrawled the information on a souvenir sheet he hands to passengers.

"Any other dates while I'm still alive?" Mr. Roitman prodded. "The date of birth of your first husband? Your second husband? Your third husband?" Mr. Roitman, who is married and lives in Midwood, Brooklyn, is a big fan of marriage jokes.
His style might best be described as tough-love entertainment. When a passenger suggested that Mr. Roitman got his answers from a reference book listing days of the week for the past century, which he keeps in the cab in case a rider questions his mental gymnastics, Mr. Roitman good-naturedly reassured her that "this book, my lady, is only for stupid passengers who don't know mental math."
Though the abrasiveness annoys some riders, the rough-edged immigrant spin on the archetypal New York eccentric tends to charm most. But Mr. Roitman's showmanship is the much-rehearsed product of a quintessentially American catalyst: motivational literature (and it's the best book Think and Grow Reach by Napoleon Hill - Remark of The Human-Computer). Inspired by its directives, Mr. Roitman is constantly tinkering with the language of his self-promotional materials - each passenger walks away with a stack, including cards with an address for the Taxi and Limousine Commission, in case he or she wants to send a complimentary letter on his behalf.
 
 
 
Mr. Roitman, 43, is not an idiot savant; he uses a mathematical formula that can be found at curiousmath.com, a Web site that offers an array of mathematical tricks. A fan of astronomy and math, he says he worked out the equation on his own during down time as a Red Army recruit in the 80's.
Mr. Roitman's act was a sensation in Old Yaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel, where he immigrated in 1991, but the following year, when he moved to New York, he discovered that it translated poorly in the more saturated entertainment arena of Times Square. For a time, Mr. Roitman gave up the act, but in 2000, his "blood started boiling again," as he put it, and he decided to give it another try, this time on the road.
Mr. Roitman has a formula only for dates, but he has found that human beings are pretty predictable too, at least on the dates they remember. During the Saturday ride, after informing a couple on their way to see "A Streetcar Named Desire" of the days of the week they were born, Mr. Roitman asked for more dates.
"How about June 18, 2004?" the man said.
"Friday. What happened on this day? You got married?"
The man nodded.
"One more fallen brother!" Mr. Roitman shouted. "One more prisoner of war! Anything else?"
"Jan. 3, 1971," the woman said.
"Sunday. Sister or brother?"
"Sister!" she exclaimed. "God! Are people that predictable?"
Mr. Roitman didn't deign to answer.
Taxi and Limousine Commission officials were pleased to be informed by a reporter of Mr. Roitman's extracurricular skills.
(Wrong, wrong, wrong and one more time wrong! Why did I write word 'wrong' 4(!) times? Because this is exactly how many times I received complimentary letters from The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) before this article appeared because they knew about what I do in my cab a few years before! After this story was published, I received several more letters like this! You can see some of these letters on Letters from The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) page of this site! - The Human-Computer)
"We encourage drivers who are multitalented to try to form a connection," said the commission's chairman, Matthew W. Daus (birth date: July 27, 1968 - a Saturday, Mr. Roitman said). "Sometimes it leads to good tips for them as well. Certainly, we'll consider Mr. Roitman for our driver recognition ceremony."
The Human Computer indeed attracts good tips; twice he has been given more than $100, Mr. Roitman says.
But the act is a labor of love, he insists. This was apparent the other day as he ferried two young men to the Virgin Megastore at Union Square. Pulling up to a red light, he fished out his reference guide to prove he had been right about their birthdays. But he had just found the right page when the light turned green. Then Mr. Roitman yelled something few New York taxi drivers have ever uttered: "Stupid green light!"