Thursday, September 16, 2004

Soul-Killing Times

I'm thankful for Covington's recent post:

The whining, simpering, backstabbing, doomspeak, second-guessing, self-righteousness, and ignorant pessimism that defines the left is nothing new... it's how we make damn sure the right wing stays in power. Because it's more hip to be a loser than to take responsibility for the future. After all, being a "progressive" would demand we make solid effort toward actual "progress" if we didn't gangfuck our candidates into defeat. It's far more satisying to flip our wrists dismissively at those silly fools who actually work toward their ideals one step at a time.

I was about to give up and start thinking that W is too good a candidate for America. In the last few days, I've been bombarded with nonstop stupidity, the worst of which was the realization that when people at Kroger ask for "a fourth-pound of Bologna" and object if I hand them a bag of "one quarter-pound," they didn't simply misunderstand. Nearly everyone I've tested doesn't know that "one quarter" and "one fourth" are the same thing (or am I crazy? Is there some distinction I'm not aware of?). Many of them complain when the scale rings up "0.25 pound" because they asked for a "fourth." (The value of a "fourth" couldn't possibly begin with a two.)

Management actually posted a sign saying:

0.25 = fourth
0.50 = half
0.75 = three fourths
1.00 = one pound

(Yes, "1.00 = one pound.") And this didn't address the issue of quarters.

I used to think that I am terrible in math because I took the fewest math classes I needed to graduate and never learned calculus. Now, knowing that McDonalds calls their burgers "Quarter Pounders" due to weight, not for some obscure relationship to cost, I realize I must be very near the top in math comprehension in America. (Suddenly all my students' complaints that Pulp Fiction didn't make sense becomes clear.)

Thank you, Covington. I won't give up. But I came close.

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