I was just thinking the other day that it’s been a while since I’ve written something that offended and polarised thousands of people, so I figured it was about time to write another angry, poorly-researched, opinion-driven rant.
Today’s target for vitriol is the imperial measurement system. But why, you ask, appalled that a numerical system that’s been in place for hundreds (possibly millions) of years should be the recipient of such venom.
Because it’s shitty and stupid, that’s why.
And because, having been based in the UK for just over a month now, I feel qualified to make that judgement.
When it comes to even the most basic maths, I could probably be out-added by a 12 year-old. No joke. I once forgot that I actually studied trigonometry in high school. For like, three years. Let me tell you, if we didn’t have calculators built into our cellphones, I’d have to start taking a fucking abacus with me to restaurants.
The only thing that has helped my chronic, mathematical handicap is the fact that South Africa, and only the rest of the enlightened world apparently, uses the metric system.
Here is a quick reference graph for those of you who haven’t been exposed to the beautiful symmetry that is the metric system:
The metric system also applies to temperature and energy. Once you’ve learnt all the prefixes (and to be honest, before I downloaded that graphic, I’d only ever used about 2 of them), you can apply the basic measurement principles to literally any force or matter in the entire universe*.
Everything is simple and makes sense. It’s all divided up into 100’s and 1 000’s- which is ironically one of the funnest sweets to reference, and one of the least fun to eat.
By contrast, here is what I’ve managed to make of the relationships of the various, ridiculously-named measurements featured in the Imperial system:
In the metric system, there are 1 000 centimetres in a metre, 1 000 metres in a kilometre, and so on and so forth, and you get the picture. You could literally teach anyone (even me) the metric system in 12 minutes. Or 12 years if indeed, you are me.
Conversely, there are 12 inches in a foot, 5 280 feet in a mile, 20 ounces in a pint, 8 pints in a gallon and 14 pounds in a stone.
A stone, really, that’s how England, the supposed hearth of civilisation- a country who used to have a fucking empire – measures people. In stones. Like cave men.
It’s not just obscene, it’s Pleistocene (budum tish).
The real boggle here is that the British currency still works in denominations of a hundred. There are a hundred pence in a pound, and a hundred pounds in someone else’s bank account.
So it’s not like they just can’t count that high… right?
I have my suspicions that not even people who use the imperial system really fully understand the imperial system. So, I’m pretty sure you could start substituting your own, made-up measurements in lieu of some of the more official calibrations. Like:
“That bottle has a capacity of 18 cat poos.”
“The distance between here and the windowsill has to be about three and a bit dentist chairs.”
“It’ll take you about 14 322 flying kick-fucks to burn off all of those chocolate biscuits!”
“This phone is so light, it can’t weigh more than 2… maybe 2 and a half flaccid penises (or is it penii?).”
So yeah, I guess I’m cursed for as long as I live here to endeavor to use the imperial system…
But by god, I don’t have to like it.