Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
— Mark Twain, in “Chapters from My Autobiography” (1906)
While I’m struggling trying to edit an upcoming mega-post, I thought I would offer a lighter one. You know how WordPress loves to entertain us with blog stats. I thought a little about reducing other aspects of my life to those kinds of numbers.
Non-Volunteer, Paying Jobs (More than 2 weeks Duration) Held: 20
Jobs in the Arts: 5
Healthcare Work: 3
Sales, Manual Labor, Brainless etc: 12
Graduated from: 5
Trade Schools: 4
I tried 3 Universities, but ran out of money each time.
Addresses Lived At Long Enough to Receive Mail: 20
Cities and Towns: 12
Lovers (More than Once): 8
Friends: (Census & subcategories still in progress.)
Pets Owned: 15
The fish, frogs, hamsters, gerbils, and ferret belonged to others in residence.
Vehicles Owned: 21
Human Body: 1
Wagons don’t count, and I never owned skates, blades or a skateboard.
Lowest Price of Gasoline Since I’ve Been Driving: $.22/Gal.
Musical Instruments Owned: 23
Drum Sets: 1
Not counting misc. percussion. The dulcimer is Mary’s.
Foreign Countries Visited: 8
I’m way behind my wife, who had visited more than 20 before we met.
Foreign Cuisines I Have Eaten: 20
My favorites are all Asian.
Languages I Have Sung In Besides English: 8
German and French are a breeze compared to Hebrew and Welsh.
Political Parties whose Candidates I Have Voted For: 4
Though often I’m actually voting against…
Times I’ve Been Called For Jury Duty: 36
Juries I Have Served On: 2
They don’t like having you on a case if you read books and newspapers or have graduated from a college, let alone 5 colleges.
13 responses to “Life Stats”
To begin with, I thank Mark Twain for this gorgeous word: “beguile”. It’s not a usual part of my vocabulary, yet such a pretty one.
On the Stats front, I’m not sure that Mark Twain is right. These stats seem to tell something truthful about you, at least a few far-flung facts. You certainly seem to be a magnet for jury duty!
That’s what I get for voting regularly (HA!) My numbers lie because I only chose ones to amuse and interest people and make myself look good. I didn’t state how many jobs I got fired from in less than a week, how many women I was rejected by when asking them for a date, or how many people I’ve offended from instances of unkind bluntness (including children).
I love Twain too. Thanks for passing through, Sandra.
Called 36 times for jury duty? Wow! (served twice.. more wow) Here in The Netherlands we have no jury service at all. Instead, each trial has three judges and they agree on a verdict. Bigger, more complicated and International cases have more judges in the panel.
Cars: I’ve had two, Himself has had one (we currently own it)… but in typical Dutch style he went through bicycles galore before then LOL.
So many things depend on the space and place where you live… the variations are diverse, interesting and very very different.
So…Can I count the 35.000+ sheep on the sheep station I lived on as a kid as pets? LOL
I don’t see why not, if you loved them like pets. I’ve had relationships with many animals that other people owned. They taught me a lot. We Americans would have better lives and better air if we had fewer cars and more bikes. Thanks, KD.
35,000 individual names was beyond even me as an imaginative kid, and (gasp) naturally enough we ate some of them too so maybe “pets” is a stretch. There were a few special ones, the orphans we hand-reared and they lived a long, fat and happy life.
Yes, I’m actually looking forward to the day that petrol (gas) runs out… we will adapt and it will be good wake-up call for us on many levels I think.
“Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself…”
I love your opening line.
Re. your editing work — someone (can’t remember who, it’ll come back to me) said something along the lines of: ‘once you’ve written something, take out everything you’re particularly pleased with’. I find it often works.
That’s a good rule on editing. In this case it’s more the need to reduce the boundaries to narrow the subject, which is a complex one. I’m also wrestling with how to share it without too much breach of anonymity. You’ll see what I mean in the next few days. I might not achieve what I’m after, but you don’t grow by staying in the comfort zone.
G’day to you Mike,
I like Mark Twain and love many of his quotes. The one you selected is perfect for your piece but I don’t agree with it. On the other hand your list was interesting reading. 🙂
Glad you liked the piece, oh Guidess of the Clooless. I believe Twain’s point was that there’s a distance between a half and a whole truth. Stats are too often used to support half-truths while obscuring greater truths when debating. This blog is an example. I have mere dozens of subscribers, and nearly every one has contributed something thoughtful, meaningful and insightful for all of us to read, over and over. I get about a 20% comment to hit ratio, not counting spam which slightly outnumbers the real comments. That should not be happening statistically, yet here we are. Perhaps I’ll have to become Improbable Mikey.
i have 24 subs using wordpress, 3 email, 11 google reader. It appears I have 50 something blogs I follow on wordpress alone, not counting blogspot folks. I like the windows into other people’s lives I think, besides also making many friends. I can’t wait to see what posts you’re cooking up.
Now that I have more time to write, I’m also devoting more to reading. I agree with you, Lisa. It is a pleasure and also instructive to see what a great variety of feelings, styles and opinions are on display.
What a fascinating process – it has never occured to me to do it before. I hope I’m brave enough to allow myself to be exposed mathematically like that!
Not sure about the bravery required, but I’m glad you liked thinking about it, TC. I was entirely in control of which numbers to publish, so of course I only put up good ones. It’s self-polling as “spin”.