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Forgot to carry the two

Posted by Bob Morris on January 14, 2011 at 10:52

Does anybody know the origin of the phrase "forgot to carry the two"? It's an acknowledgment of a simple mistake that causes a disaster. An online search found several uses of the phrase, but I can't find anything about its origin.

I have a (very) vague memory of an American surfing movie from the 1960's (like the hundreds starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello). A surfer calculated his ride, wiped out, realized he forgot to carry the two, recalculated, and rode the wave perfectly. This could, of course, be a reference to something earlier.