Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Numbers are getting Dumber

Did you ever stop and think of what a numbers driven society we are? I remember back to my college life. Yes, that was back in the hey days of the 60's. There was a group named Three Dog Night who sang a song entitled, One is the Loneliest Number. You know the song. It had a haunting melody with a compelling beat. I always thought it meant something to the effect of being alone, without being in a relationship. Then some of my drug culture friends told me that it meant only smoking one marijauna cigarette. The joint was often referred to as a number. Everyone knows that it takes more than one to get you where you want to be.

Nowadays people are fixated by the FICO ratings. You see countless ads on TV advocating using their free service to get a free FICO or credit rating. If you are north of 800 then you are amongst the chosen ones. You are given a well oiled pathway to burying yourself in more debt than you can possibly ever imagine. You can then be just like elected members of Congress happily engaged in that pursuit. If you are below 600 then you  are a marginalized person unworthy of buying the least thing on a credit account. Some lies are enmeshed in this message. The first lie is that ad on TV doesn't tell you that you have to give their organization your credit card before you can get their free report. If you have just enough purchasing power on your card they do indeed render you a free report. However, they will hit you with a bill for each month you stay around on their service if you forget to cancel the service. The great lie is that your general esteem is soiled beyond redemption if you have a lower FICO rating. I know that this is just not true. I work with people all the time who have lower FICO's who are good people, better than most. They have lost a job, had health problems, divorced and had a myriad of other circumstances that are often beyond their control. You do not need a blistering high FICO rating unless you want to buy something on credit. There are lots of people who pay cash for just about everything. That approach to living renders the FICO to a benign and meaningless reflection of such a person.

How about IQ? Anyone who ever took psychology 101 knows that the intelligent quotient is assigned by a standardized test created by psychologists. Did anyone ever meet a normal psychologist? That aside, an IQ of 100 rates you as an average thinker. As you go up the scale then you are considered to be more talented in that regard. I believe if you are over 140 then you can apply to be in Menssa. That is a club where people sit around in little groups and pontificate about how extremely intelligent they are. As they do that people like George Bush or Barrack Obama are out becoming the President of the United States. This number helps you to get into the gifted programs in the varied school systems around our land. I remember visiting one of my daughters at their lunch table at elementary school in about the fifth grade. That was before they found out that I had a low IQ and they generally loved having Dad come to lunch at school with them.

There was a little girl at the table who introduced herself to me in the following fashion: " Hi, I am Mary and I am gifted." That meant that she had been identified by a standardized test, assigned a higher number on her IQ portion and was in the gifted program. My daughter, although precious to me, was in regular classes unworthy to be classified as gifted. My daughters are now in their mid thirties. They have little non-gifted children of their own. I watched Mary over the years. She became an alcoholic, drug addicted, unwed mother and actually has done time in the county lock up. My regular school girls have college degrees from major universities and can converse with just about anyone. They are both smart enough to be stay at home Moms with husbands who go out and fight the dragons of life and support them. I am proud of them. I have no clue what their IQ number is and could care less. I know mine and it would impress most people. However, I have never found a way to put it in the bank.

Phone numbers have gotten completely out of control. Everyone 6 years and up has at least 7 phone numbers in their homes to have to remember. Add in Alpha-numeric passwords, credit card numbers, Social security numbers and on and on and on and on it is just overwhelming.

How about age? Now there is a serious number. It can be too low or too high in the judgements of the people around you. Do you really believe that Methusaleh lived to be over 600 years of age? Is it just possible that there could have been a different manner of defining years or that there is a loss of credible translation along the way? You hear all the time that age is just a number. Frankly, I do not want to live to be 600. I am having a hard enough time with being 67.

Now here is a number for you.............666. It is biblical. As a matter of fact it is referenced in the very last book in the New Testament. Revelations 13. The writer describes a time in which there is a pronounced battle between good and evil. Satan is described as a beast. The chapter describes the fact that the beast can be wounded but never killed. Much interprettion has been given to that number 666 and what bearing it has on the evolution of time in this fallen world in which we live.

Now here is the overall most obsessed over number of them all...........................your weight ! How many billions of dollars are spent in this country relative to that number? That being said, I have to go eat lunch.