Numbers are supposed to represent facts, hard, cold, undisputable facts. But it seems that is less the case these days. Trump routinely trots out numbers as if they are facts, but the press points out that his numbers are wrong. Of course then the press is labeled “fake news” by the President, and we are all left wondering who the heck to believe. I guess for the purposes of this paper, I represent the press too, so just assume everything that follows is “fake.”
Weather reporters are really good with numbers. “It’s 30 degrees out, but the real feel temperature makes it feel like it's 15 degrees!” Well, if it feels like 15 degrees, then why the heck isn’t it actually 15 degrees? Why are we left walking around freezing our butts off, but having to say, “Well it’s actually only 30 degrees out.”
Birthdays fall into this category too. It’s only a number! Forget the number they say, “you are as young as you feel.” Well geez, if you feel like a hundred, maybe you are then! I have a friend who says it’s all in your head anyway. But growing up we all marked those big numbers down as a rite of passage. Remember turning double digits? That was a big deal. How about finally hitting those teenage years? Then slowly the twenties roll by, your thirties are gone in a blink, forget about your forties, they didn’t last long enough, and then your fifties! That’s what we thought old was when we first hit double digits! And now, all of sudden you’ve become the guy across the street who hit sixty! How the hell did that happen! It’s not right I tell you. And don’t give me that junk that sixty is the new forty, that’s not happening.
Mermaids never age. Have you noticed that? Is it the salt water? All the swimming maybe? Perhaps it’s their siren songs to sailors passing by. Whenever you see a picture of King Triton, he has a long white flowing beard and looks like he has lived for centuries. Mermaids? They are perpetually twenty-five years old. It’s not fair I tell you.
Same is true of taxes. Have you gotten your real estate tax bill from Mayor de Blasio? Happily announcing that real estate taxes have not gone up. But oh yeah, we have reassessed your home and we feel it’s worth more, so the tax rate (which didn’t go up they remind us) multiplied, by your new assessed value, equals more than last year. They must really think we are all idiots. But again these are only numbers, and the fact is the tax rate didn’t go up.
Perhaps the greatest group of bean counters are statisticians. They at least will tell you that all stats lie. Statisticians are the ones who when asked, what does one plus one equal, will ask in return, “what do you want it to be?” I’ll tell you what I want it to be, I want it to be twenty-five again. The hell with a birthday that ends in a zero!
But again, these are only numbers, and they are only in your head anyway, so why bother. I did read recently that those above a certain age should get more sleep, lest they become more grouchy and grumpy. That they should watch what they eat, cut down on the soda, eliminate salt and sugar, and start eating healthy. Maybe they should exercise more too. This is awful; I hope seventy is not like this! I am going to take a nap now.