April 17, 2024

Measuring Things

How do you measure things? By the inch? By the pound? By the second or minute? Obviously, we all use these measurements and many more to function in today’s complex world. Units of measurement abound. In the metric system, there’s the centimeter, gram, kilogram, hectare, etc. In our English system, we have inches, feet, pounds, miles, etc.

Scientists use units with names like watt, slug, radian, ohm, mho, farad and many others. It may surprise you to learn that even with the broad array of units of measurement out there, more are needed. I, therefore, propose adoption of the following units of measurement and fervently hope they meet your approval.

YAHN – This is a unit of boredom. Someday in the interest of science, sit in a chair and stare at a blank wall for as long as you can. When you absolutely, positively, without a doubt cannot stand it any longer, look at your watch and see how long you’ve been sitting there doing nothing. That length of time is your YAHN. (We’re all different, you see.)

This unit provides a convenient reference for different people comparing boredom. Your YAHN might be longer than somebody else’s but it’s equally bothersome. Thus, when you explain that you had to sit in the doctor’s waiting room for three YAHNs, other people will understand, no matter their individual tolerance for boredom.

The record for the greatest number of YAHNs survived is held by Martin Foom of Persnickety, New Jersey whose wife told him to wait in the car while she ran into the mall to check out a shoe sale. She returned three days later. People have, of course, endured longer periods of boredom, but anyone who can last that long with no signs of damage must have the intelligence of a rutabaga and cannot be statistically significant.

AWWWWW! – The AWWWWW! is a unit of cuteness often exhibited by kittens, puppies and other tiny, furry animals. The unit is most often expressed by women upon first seeing the cute animal. If you don’t believe me, try this. Look through magazines until you find the cutest, cuddliest, most wide-eyed, innocent, vulnerable kitten on the face of the earth.

Carry this picture with you and show it to all the women you meet. I guarantee each and every one of the women you show it to will say “AWWWWW!” The length of the AWWWWW! is a measure of cuteness of the baby animal. Maximum effect is obtained by showing the picture to a large group of women. LOOKATCHEW – This is a measure of how dirty a kid can get during an afternoon of playing in the mud out in the yard, or having been turned loose with a big piece of paper and a finger-painting set. Anyone who has ever been a parent knows exactly what I mean.

UNNRRRHHH – This unit describes how tight a nut or a bold is when you’re trying to remove it to fix your car, tractor, lawnmower or whatever. It is used in two forms. The ‘pure” UNNRRRHHH is defined using a wrench alone and is the purest form of the term.

The “modified” UNNRRRHHH allows for the use of penetrating oil, a blowtorch, hammer whack, small explosive, etc. and is considered by purists to be less pristine than the pure UNNRRRHHH. A level of five UNNRRRHHHs is considered the practical limit for the typical shade tree mechanic to engage in safely. Higher levels should not be attempted without advice and counsel of a physician.

BULL – This term refers to a person’s ability to stretch and, in some cases, manufacture truth. It’s not used in the traditional sense of units. That is, “He lied three BULLs worth.” But it is usually put in a quantitative sense, He’s really full of BULL.” This unit has been much in evidence in recent years, particularly among politicians. It is often used as a combining form, taking on a number of endings, which are not appropriate for inclusion in a family newspaper.

Ever the guardian of truth, valor and integrity, I remain yours truly.

See Ya Around,


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