Dwain Walden.jpg

Dwain Walden.

Often we hear that we have become a society of numbers, so much so that at times the numbers and their collection process just get stupid or meaningless.

For instance, I walked into a government office one day and explained to the person behind the  window why I was there. He said, “You’ll have to take a number.”

I looked around and replied, “But I’m the only one here.”

He said, “You’ll still have to take a number.”

Rather than debating the lack of logic in that process at that moment, I took a number off the hook and sat down. In about five minutes, my number was called.

“Bingo!” I shouted and rushed to the window.

I don’t think the clerk even perceived my sarcasm because the number process had become so rote. Needless to say, there was no small talk. I did  not mention the fact that robins had arrived very early this year and they seemed so confused, given that they had been here since January.

Now if I could have said exactly how many robins had arrived and approximated the number of days early, then some light conversation might have initiated.

Given that so much data is collected in numerical stylings, it’s a good thing that we live in a computerized world where volumes of information can be stored on something the size of a flea. Otherwise we would have run out of filing cabinets decades ago.

Speaking of insects, did you know that the average person eats 8 spiders while asleep in his lifetime?  Now I’m not saying that all of this numerical data is totally useless. And it might even have negative effects once consumed. I know a couple of people who’ll probably never sleep again upon reading this.

And a few will rationalize that protein is protein.

According to statistics, one out of four people is Chinese. So I guess if your mom and dad and your sister are not Chinese, then that means you should be eating your rice with two sticks.

And what’s you’re first impression when you see someone wearing an eye patch? According to data retrieved from the bowels of the digital beast, about 10 percent think “eye injury.” One percent thinks it’s a fashion statement. And 89 percent think “Yarrrrrr matey!”

Now I’m not sure who collects a lot of this data, but I suppose they generally found the hobby shop closed, and they probably went to the prom alone.

But some of this nonsensical data will make you stop and think. For instance, consider the use of fire escapes in movies.  Some 49 percent of them involve exciting chase scenes. Fifty percent involve romantic scenes. Only 1 percent involves escaping fires. I’m guessing whoever tracked this issue not only went to the prom alone but danced with a chaperone.

Lately in our Rants and Raves section of the newspaper, there has been a lot of “back and forth” about sex education, contraceptives, etc. And there’s all sorts of data related to these subjects.

So where do you think kids get answers about sexual problems?

Well the data collectors say one percent comes from teachers and guidance counselors, one percent from parents, one percent from doctors and 97 percent from Yahoo.

Like I said, a lot of this data is totally useless. But at our breakfast club, it does make for interesting conversations and reactions. So I pointed out that statistics show that one in five Americans is gay. Immediately I could tell everyone at the table had started counting. There were 10 of us. One fellow, who had counted on his fingers, suddenly asked where he could get his chainsaw worked on. Another told us how long he had been riding his Harley.

(Dwain Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer, 985-4545: Email: dwain.walden@gaflnews.com)

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