Musical numbers

Recently, the SF Chronicle had a story about pot use in contemporary California, with one of the factoids of note being that in the last month, 15 percent of Friscans smoked/vaped/ate with that notorious emerald strumpet Mary Jane. The article seemed to carry a tone of “Wow, a lot of people in around here are using weed.” And indeed, SF was number one on the list of pot-consuming places.

I learned a manuever in college from a prof who liked to take percent stats and flip them, asserting that one got a bit of extra depth on overall perspective. It’s often instructive to remind oneself to do so, and to use this approach here would result in us saying, “Yes, we see here that last month, 85 percent of San Franciscans didn’t use marahoonie.” Which also seems like a lot. This particular stat flip also helps us realize that a whole lot of people are watching TV (1) straight or (2) drunk, which is troubling unto itself. (SF ain’t the only town in double digits with Ms. Jane. Not a surprise to see the Denver metro area posting a solid 14.8 figure on the Big Board. Not at all.)

Anyway, this exercise in flipping numbers can be used to make one feel better—a lot better—about the violent zaniness that’s been popping up regularly.

Here’s how. Current estimate of U.S. population is 324 mill. So let’s say that sometime this month, somebody, whether a pissed-off black guy or a drunk depressed Baptist or an IS-man, goes off, grabs his guns, and take a few unfortunate bystanders with him as he commits suicide by cop. When that happens, we can always just flip the number and combat any bumitude that such incidents may instill by cheerily realizing that, well, yes, while it’s too bad that some guy snapped and committed insane mayhem on innocent bystanders, we can also note that, impressively enough, 323,999,999 Americans managed to keep it together today. And hey, that’s pretty damn good!

Let’s hear it for creative rationalization, ladies and gentlemen.

I’m just waiting for Trump, up there in his Tower (folks, the guy is running for president from his freakin’ Tower!), concerned about the latest polls showing his support among the crucially important Hispanic demo to be in the low tenths of one percent, to uncork an emergency tweet along the lines of “I love the Mexicans. Love ’em! Nobody—and I mean nobody—edges a yard like the Mexicans. The sharpness, the straightness, just incredible. And chimichangas? Love ’em. Love the chimichangas! Nobody loves chimichangas more than Trump! Nobody!”