I will admit it: I am a math geek. I love numbers and equations and the rock-solid perfection of such a pure science. In fact, I almost became a math major and studied it way back when in college; that is until I found out that 78% of the graduating math majors were unemployed
I listened to the numbers. See how foolish I was?
So why do I use words to speak of my love of numbers? It is because I think we have gone too far. I am all “statted out.” I want it to stop.
I awake each morning, and the first thing I hear is that “the chance of precipitation is___” (you fill in whatever percent you like, I feel generous today.) That is a good stat. We need stats like that, so I can figure out what to wear.
But then it goes too far. “If the temperature doesn’t hit 70 today, it will be the first time since way back when – three weeks ago – when we only got up to 68 degrees. But the good news is that if the thermometer registers below 35 tonight, we will set the all-time record low for this day.”
Should I cheer? Should I root for this? Will there be a celebration?
Next up comes the daily data report from social media. I find out that: 68% are of the opinion that Miley Cyrus’ career is on the upswing, but they wouldn’t want their daughters to act like her, 94% of the people are sick of Congress, and 59% of those responding think social media is a waste of time.
Feeling foolish, I fight the urge to see if I have any Facebook messages, opting for a bowl of cereal in front of the television. That is when I see an in-depth, undercover report about the dairy industry and that I have a 26% chance of getting a bacterial infection from my bowl of frosty goodness – 37% if the milk is a day past its expiration date, and a 3% increase each day after that.
I gag, flush the cereal down the toilet, and have toast (after vigorously washing my hands for 15 minutes.)
I settle back down and flip to the sports channel. There I find that the 0 and 5 Giants are doomed. “No team has ever started a season 0 and 5 and won the Super Bowl!” the announcer proclaims. And only one team has ever started off that bad and made the playoffs. (It’s nice that someone can warn me not to waste my time watching football this year. I really appreciate them taking all the fun out of it.)
Baseball statistics have graphed their way far beyond that of the meaningful number, taking sabermetrics to the point of the absurd: “Carl Crawford is the only ex-Tampa Bay Rays player to ever hit two home runs off right-handed pitchers whose mothers were from Texas during non-consecutive games at night during the playoffs in cities that did not begin with the letter “R” since Carlos Beltran did it back in 2011.”
By this time I am ready to punch the television, but I don’t, since I know that my random odds of dying on any given day are 1 in 44,000, and that would increase the chances a great deal.
I reach for the remote, but by the time I can find it, a bug-eyed man has told me how much money there is in the NY Lottery and, even though winning would have the same odds of getting hit by lightening – twice – I am now compelled to go buy a ticket because “I have to be in it to win it.”
I am doomed. I give up. I am now ruled by numbers.
If you drive past my house, please say hello. I will be the man standing outside in the thunderstorm wearing metal pants. That should increase my odds one way or another.