The term seventy-five-percent blockage prompted my brain to think about numbers and their presence in life. You see, a doctor had informed a patient on the phone that he had failed a routine stress test and that there was little open space left in his artery for free blood flow. He had a seventy-five-percent blockage. The physician used a clinical percentage to message the serious condition. In addition, he added his bland personal commentary by saying that the number was not too bad. In a final attempt to offer some additional comfort long- distance, the doctor concluded that a ninety-eight-percent blockage would be bad. Once again, the professional relied on numbers to alert the recipient of the weighty news.
I find it curious that we sometimes rely on impersonal numbers to give order to personal things. Most often, we use a scale of 1-100. One being the lowest, and 100 being the highest. But within that range, interpretations vary. Numbers can comfort us or they can strike fear deep within in our souls.
We welcome a diagnosis of a 75% recovery from a life-threatening illness. The odds are with you, people remark when they do not know what else to say. Funny how we rely on numbers when words fail us.
Seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit is a good weather day for me. Seventy-five degrees Celsius, which equals 167 degrees Fahrenheit, would be unbearable.
When I was in high school, seventy-five-percent equaled a letter grade of C. In my ninth-grade geometry class, I was very happy to receive a C for my mathematical performance. I did not like math and it did not like me. Seventy-five-percent was just fine with me, although, my parents did not embrace what they viewed as limited success.
Whenever I go shopping, if I can get 75% off on a purchase, I am in heaven. I feel that I have beat the system of retail mark-ups. I pride myself in my ability to bargain shop.
Proof is an antique method for evaluating alcohol strength dating back to the 16th century. In England, they originally tested spirits with a basic burn-or-no-burn test. An alcohol-containing liquid that could ignite would be deemed above proof. A liquid able to maintain combustion was 100 proof. That was also the basis for a higher taxation. The proof system in the United States was established in 1848 and was based on the percent of alcohol in the liquid. Fifty percent alcohol by volume was defined as one hundred proof.
I guess the warmed alcohol my mother used to pour over her homemade fruitcake was 100 proof since it met the old English burn test by immediately igniting as she lit a match to the brimming ladle. Then, she poured the flaming booze over our traditional Christmas Eve dessert. Once, a little extra burning liquid flowed on to my father’s red plaid holiday pants. Fortunately, the rapid evaporation of the alcohol and the continuous swatting of a cloth napkin smothered the fire in my father’s lap. Thundering laughter from my three sisters and me was the only fallout.
Pollsters interpret voter preferences with percentages detailed on fancy graphs and charts. However, the specifics of the polls need to be carefully examined and considered in order to understand the real value of the polls. Seventy-five percent of thousands of people polled holds more weight than 75% of less than one hundred people. Details matter. Consider the source.
Numbers and percentages. It depends on what you are judging and how you judge it. Math grades, voter preferences, libation strengths, temperatures, shopping incentives, or medical measurements. The results vary.
As I get ready to welcome the year 2024, I reflect upon my life. The years seem to speed up as I age. Could it be that I am running faster? Or is the race getting shorter? As I look over my shoulder, I believe seventy-five-percent of my life is behind me. I do not dwell on my earned years. But, I do sometimes pause and take stock of the amount of time that has passed. I like to compare my existence on earth to a sterling silver goblet. It is slowly filling up. There are some dents and a little tarnish. However, with a gentle massage, the precious metal’s glow reappears. Since I am an eternal optimist, I see a remaining space of twenty-five percent in my chalice waiting to be filled. As it does, I continue to polish my past.
And so, to all of you, I wish you a stellar New Year filled with joy, good health, and percentages in your favor.