Statistically Speaking

Some people use statistics as a way to start a conversation.  

Trixie is fond of doing this when we’re driving along the road. Just the other day, she made the observation that 2.5 percent of the U.S. voting population has said that they have witnessed voter fraud, which, coincidentally, is the same exact percentage of the population saying they’ve been abducted by aliens. See how that works? In one sentence, we can explore campaign reform, voter fraud and alien abduction. Who says we don’t have fun on road trips?  

And, some people when they want to impress an assembled group, they will spout off a a bunch of statistics which is meant to sway us to their point of view or, just as likely, make the rest of the population feel stupid.

They are able to assemble such a mass of numbers that we lose interest and not caring enough to check the numbers, just let it slide. This must be in the rookie handbook they give every politician. 

My daughter Cricket and her husband Cap are college professors and you may wonder how Ol' Dutch pulled that one off. People always said that she got her brains from her momma and her natural good looks from me so she is doubly blessed. Another statistic. 

Cricket and Cap use statistics like flea powder on an old Collie dog. Listening to them and Trixie debate important issues leaves Ol' Dutch worn completely out. 

I would just as soon take a beating as listen to them spout off some unproven numbers about climate change or some other liberal agenda which has nothing at all to do with increasing my take of fish and game otherwise known as “important stuff.”

Ol' Dutch was lucky early on to be in on a conversation with Cricket about how statistics can be skewed. She told me ‘bout a study whereby a scientist would clap his hands and a flea would jump. Pulling the legs off the flea and repeating the experiment, he noticed the flea didn’t jump thereby proving that pulling the legs off a flea took away their hearing. 

Now Ol' Dutch may not remember much about such nonsensical scientific talk but whenever one of them starts in on some theory I can smugly point out the flea story and seem to be what is called “smart.” 

The other day I read that sitting for one hour increases the chance of heart disease by 14 percent. That was enough to scare me into action as my ever quick mind was able to surmise that only about seven hours of watching TV gives a person 100 percent risk of developing heart problems. 

With the average person watching five hours a day it only takes two days to become a patient of the local cardiologist so it seems. Now you may say that’s not what that means but that is exactly how it was stated. 

Other amazing statistics that you might be able to use at the next PTA meeting or golf course are things such as: if you pet a cat 70 million times you will develop enough electricity to light a 60 watt bulb for one minute. 

That study only costs us tax payers upward of $10 million and will be one handy fact to know when the lights go out during the next blizzard. 

Another great conversation starter is the top six reasons to be late for work. Now your boss may buy that you were late due to traffic, oversleeping, procrastination, chores or car trouble. But, if you are of the married persuasion, Number 6 “having sex with your wife” is not believable.

Ol' Dutch has now begun to use more statistics in his everyday life now that the Internet is available on his smartphone. Just being able to say I have one makes me feel somehow intellectually superior.

There is one thing I do know, however, Ol' Dutch is 100 percent happier hunting and fishing instead of working every day and even Cricket and Trixie cannot dispute that number.