2 added the true story

Some time in the early 90s Goro Shimura was giving a lecture course on algebraic number theory at the ENS in Paris. According to someone who was in the audience, one of the lectures started thus.

Let $a$ be a rational number. [Pause; the lecturer writes $a$ on the blackboard.] Is this clear? [Pause.] Do you follow me? [Long pause.]

Ok then. [Pause.] Let $\beta$ be an irrational number. [Pause; the lecturer writes $\beta$ on the blackboard.] Is this clear? [Pause.] Does everyone understand? [Long pause.]

Ok then. So consider a global field of prime characteristic and an automorphic representation of an algebraic group over its adelic ring. Now take the absolute Galois group and the category of perverse l-adic sheaves on ...

[The third phrase here is a random and probably inaccurate reconstruction, but I'm pretty sure the numbers were called $a$ and $\beta$.]

upd: I've emailed the person I heard this from and they provided the following version. It seems that I got everything wrong; apologies. Anyhow, the course took place at Jussieu, not ENS and began thus.

Professor Shimura:

Consider alpha algebraic number, writes alpha on the blackboard, pause (on the same line) now theta transcendental number, writes theta, pause (below the first line) f holomorphic function, writes f, pause (on the same second line below theta) g non-holomorphic function,
writes g, pause

long silence which I interpreted as "think deeply about the meaning of
this square"

Professor Shimura takes a deep breathe and in one sentence restarts:

Let f be a Siegel modular form of weight k and level N ....

1 [made Community Wiki]

Some time in the early 90s Goro Shimura was giving a lecture course on algebraic number theory at the ENS in Paris. According to someone who was in the audience, one of the lectures started thus.

Let $a$ be a rational number. [Pause; the lecturer writes $a$ on the blackboard.] Is this clear? [Pause.] Do you follow me? [Long pause.]

Ok then. [Pause.] Let $\beta$ be an irrational number. [Pause; the lecturer writes $\beta$ on the blackboard.] Is this clear? [Pause.] Does everyone understand? [Long pause.]

Ok then. So consider a global field of prime characteristic and an automorphic representation of an algebraic group over its adelic ring. Now take the absolute Galois group and the category of perverse l-adic sheaves on ...

[The third phrase here is a random and probably inaccurate reconstruction, but I'm pretty sure the numbers were called $a$ and $\beta$.]