Yes, it's fun with algebra time.
If x equals the number of people in the world, how many human arms are there in the world?
That's right! 2x is the correct answer, although a 'fudge factor' of n must be subtracted from the total to account for some people who were born without arms and others who have had their arms amputated because of war or industrial accident.
OK. Now, if there are x people in the world, how many human toes are there in the world?
Very good! 10x is the correct answer -- although, again, a fudge factor of n1 must be deducted for birth defects, injuries from war or accidents. Some people, for example, are careless with their lawnmowers. (Kids: Don't ever mow the lawn in flip-flops, OK?)
And sometimes, algebra is very easy to figure out: If there are x people in the world, there are also x hearts and x brains. Not everyone uses their hearts or their brains, but that's a different story.
But, sadly, the algebraic symmetry between numbers of persons and numbers of body parts breaks down in one important area: If there are x people in the world, you'd expect there to be x assholes as well -- but, sadly, this is not the case. There are y assholes in the world... and y > x.
Apparently y exceeds x by an enormous amount. Some recent examples:
- The drug-craving animal who attacked two petite young women on Chicago's North Side this week, caving their skulls with a baseball bat in order to steal their purses. (One of the victims, Natasha McShane, a native of Northern Ireland, is still in a coma and doctors are making no promises for her ultimate recovery. A prayer service for McShane and the other victim, Stacy Jurich, was held last night at Old St. Pat's in Chicago.)
- The idiot who hit and seriously injured a construction worker on I-94 in Porter County, Indiana in the wee small hours of this morning. (Construction worker "Roger Sadler was filling cracks in a well-marked westbound construction zone facing west when an eastbound car made an illegal U-turn in a crossover about two-tenths of a mile east of where Sadler was working, police said. The car then hit Sadler, who was standing on a striped line between the left and middle lane, carrying him for about 35 feet before he was thrown off.")
- And then there's the SEC. When America's financial system was crumbling, senior bureaucrats charged with monitoring the financial system weren't watching. They were watching porn instead. An AP story on April 23 said that 33 employees were being investigated including 17 "senior-level" employees, "earning salaries of up to $222,418." One was a "senior attorney" at the SEC's Washington headquarters who "spent up to eight hours a day looking at and downloading pornography. When he ran out of hard drive space, he burned the files to CDs or DVDs, which he kept in boxes around his office." And the punch line? According to Ed O'Keefe's April 27 post on the "Federal Eye" blog on the Washington Post website, no one got fired for this. I'll stop typing for a minute while you digest that one. Now, I must repeat: No one got fired. As Jay Leno said last night, they all got off... again. At least some of those caught with their pants down -- so to speak -- had the good grace to resign (including the lawyer with the boxes of discs), but others were given 'suspensions' lasting from one to 14 days. According to O'Keefe, "Five [others] were issued formal reprimands, six were issued informal counseling or warning letters, and three are currently facing disciplinary action."