Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Numbers Guy

I'm a numbers guy. I don't know when this started, but I think it's getting worse. On Saturday, RJ and I ran a relay race that required each member of the five person team to run about 13 miles. This took us about 11 hours. Ugh, I wasn't even trying and I just used three numbers. Damn, there's another one.

Anyway, back to the race. It was pretty fun and miserable at the same time. It's an off-trail run through a state park, which means lots of bushwhacking and creek-crossing and hill climbing. After completing my final leg of the relay, I proudly announced that I finished the leg by climbing up 166 steps. Like anyone cares how many steps there were. I count pretty much everything. I count how many miles I've flown in the past month and how many days out of a year I spend driving to work. I like to add up how many (or few) days I'll be in the office during a given period of time. I have three calculators on my desk, but typically do calculations in my head and use the calculator(s) just to double-check my math. Or I just use the calculator to type sequences of numbers that when flipped upside down, spell inappropriate words. That's a different problem.

There are a few situations where being a numbers guy can be helpful. I've never had a keep a scorecard when I play golf. I just keep my score (and the rest of the group's scores) in my head. I can also figure out how much longer I have to run when I get to the 40K sign during a marathon.

This really only gets me into trouble when I use the dollar sign with the numbers. I can't buy anything without thinking what else could be purchased for a similar amount of money. Sure we could buy a new couch, or we could use that money to buy groceries for the next two and a half months. And it's not like the two things are mutually exclusive - we could buy both the couch and the groceries - it's just that something makes me do the math. And something else makes me explain/share the math with others who really don't care. During meetings I'll go around the room and (in my head) estimate salaries of everyone in attendance, then divide those to get an hourly rate per person, and then add up all of the hourly rates to try to figure out the cost of the meeting. If you work with me, I promise I only did that at my last job.

I don't think the current political race is helping this problem at all. I'm the guy who stays up until 1:00 AM to see if Obama gets the required 61% of the vote in Lake County to carry Indiana. I'm pretty sure most people just go to bed and look in the paper to see who has the check mark next to their name.

I'm not really sure how to wrap up this post. RJ is the one who is good with words, so I should have him write the conclusion. I'll just climb up fourteen steps and get 360 minutes of sleep before driving 22.3 miles to work.


Dusty said...

Hey Raymond, tell Charlie what time Jeporady comes on. Oh yeah, and how many toothpicks are on the ground.

Nate Romance said...

Uh-oh. Charlie, Charlie Babbit. Grabbed and squeezed and hurt my arm in 1988. 97X...BANG...the future of Rock'n'Roll.

MK said...

more evidence...during a wine tasting, the ranking scale was taken out to a fourth decimal point and results were charted. I secretly, really not secretly, enjoyed it.