Sunday, February 22, 2009

American Number System

It seems that numbers have come to mean a lot to most Americans. We evaluate ourselves and the quality of our lives with various numbers. Television and the internet pound it into us. Here are some examples:

1. Finance: What is your "credit score"?

2. Health: What is your "good" cholesterol number?

3. Health: What is your "bad" cholesterol number?

4. Happiness: What is your "sleep number"?

5. Business: What is your NPS (Net Promotor Score)?

6. Health and Happiness: How many calories is in that piece of chocolate cake? (worry, worry)

7. Happiness: How many milligrams of caffeine are in that super-charged, energy-zonking drink? (can I have two?)

8. Health: What is your "blood pressure"?

In response to question 8 (note the reference to the number), a lot higher that it should be after considering all these numbers.

Even a trip to the doctor today requires that you describe your pain with a number. As the medical technician asks you, "What is your level of pain on a scale of 1 to 10?" (Oh heck, I am a 10 today, that sleep number bed with a sleep number of 40 is killing my back.)

Let's go back a few years and imagine a time when you you either felt good or you didn't; you either paid your bills or you didn't, or you either slept good or you didn't. Too simple? Maybe not, for I think this number thing has gotten out of control.

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