Posted at 11:20 AM on April 30, 2007
by Sanden Totten
If I could have one wish (and assuming hunger, war and blue Mondays were already taken care of) it would be to have the ability to see, in exact quantities, the number of times I have done various things throughout my life. Like the number of times I sneezed. The number of avocados I have eaten. The number of lies I have told. The number of pounds of skin I have shed. The quantity and species of live bugs I have swallowed unknowingly. I once read an interview in McSweeney's where the guest said that Heaven was a room filled with piles of all the things you ever ate. I kind of agree. That would be something I could amused by for, if not all of eternity, at least half of it.
Well, it looks like one TV crew has made a little piece of Heaven here on earth.
A British TV show called Human Footprint will seek to quantify all angles of our lives. From how long we are expected to live ( 2,475,576,000 seconds) to how much gas we will pass while living that long (35.815 stinky liters). Some surprising stats can be found on this page, if you check out the image on the right.
Does the amount of vomit people produce surprise you? . . . Yeah, I think it's an underestimate too. And 198 bottles of shampoo in a lifetime seems way too low. Are these people remembering to rinse and repeat?
That would be your one wish? "To have the ability to see, in exact quantities, the number of times I have done various things throughout my life." We have to come up with some better wishes for you, Sanden!
Some other of those stats seem surprisingly small: As a meat-eater, I can't believe I will only consume 15 pigs and 4.5 cows over my lifetime.
It's not so clear who they're documenting here -- British people? People in industrialized countries? Everyone in the world?
Yeah, seeing averages is not nearly as exciting as seeing your own personal stats . . . which is why having that as a superpower would be so fun.
Just imagine Jeff, you could count every cow you've ever eaten! And then measure that with how many chickens, pigs or Twinkies you have devoured.
What interests me about seeing the exact numbers is that it is a weird way of conceptualizing our existence in time. Before you die, the number of Twinkies you eat is practically infinite. Who knows how many you will eat over a life time? But once you pass away (probably from trying to eat infinity Twinkies) you are left with a very finite number. That's life in a nutshell: infinite possibilities, finite conclusion.
Um, don't you guys, like, sit in the same cube or something? Is communication via blog the most efficient way to chat?
Anyway, a few years back, I tried to track my personal consumption- it was ill fated, because I'm really disorganized, but I had it in my head that I would keep receipts of everything I bought in a big shoebox, and jot down in a notebook every book I read, magazine I flipped through, and (and this is where it got crazy) every song I played on my CD player. I'd log how many miles I walked around town and how many miles I put on my car. I'd keep my regular journal, but somehow, I'd tie those thoughts into some bigger picture of what I was really doing with all my time and money during that month.
Naturally, I lost interest in a few days, but I always thought that it would've been amazing to... I don't know... scrap book that or something. Have a record of everything I consumed for a stretch of time. And, in my head, it would've made a great time capsule- "This is what a totally normal guy ate, drank, read, bought, thought about, and otherwise consumed for the month of July in the year after he graduated from college."
Yeah, that would've been awesome.
Also, I went to a barbecue this weekend and was wondering what all these cows did to make me extract my 1/4 pound of flesh from them. Why am I so vindictive toward the 4.5 cows I'll eat in my lifetime? What did they ever do to me?
Mini vegetarian corn dogs, indeed.
We're in separate cubes. But yes, we do have a habit of commenting on each other's blog posts.
After all, though, isn't the whole point of blogging to take each and every personal thought and conversation and hang it out there for the world to see? I figure we're only being true to the art form :-)
Those tiny veggie corn dogs make life worth living (among other things). Why aren't more foods wrapped in cornbread?
Just wait for the state fair Anna! Cornbread wrapped food will get it's due . . . only wish there were more veggie and vegan options. Are soy cheese curds too much to ask for?