Wednesday, May 11, 2005

the numbers game

You know, it's hard enough wrapping my brain around a new language, but I really despise the fact that on top of that, I've got to do math in the middle of a conversation. And Math and I were never particularly close friends.

You see, a long time ago, some enterprising Frenchman (I can only assume a mathematician, grr) decided it would be really funny to leave out important words like "seventy," "eighty," and "ninety." I suppose he figured they had enough words, thank you, and we'll just have to make do with what we've got.

The fallout of this madness is that if I need to give the year of anything that happened in the last thirty or so years, I have to pause and stare blankly into space while I calculate the proper formula. Here, let me show you what I mean:

Counting numbers is all very simple once you get up to seventy. This is because the word "seventy" doesn't exist. If you want to say "70," you actually say "sixty-ten." Fun, eh?

You would think a simple formula like this would continue, but oh no no, my friends. Of course "eighty" doesn't exist either, so to say "80," you say "four-twenty." This is multiplication, people, and is completely unnecessary!

Finally, they figured that these two great tastes would taste great together, so for "90" we have "four-twenty-ten." Aaargh!

So here is an example of a few important dates that leave me counting on fingers and toes in the middle of conversations:

I was born in: sixty-thirteen
We moved to Florida in: sixty-ten-nine
I first came to France in: four-twenty-nine
I graduated high school in: four-twenty-eleven
I graduated college in: four-twenty-sixteen

Get the picture? It's madness, I tell you! All I can say is thank goodness we've passed into a new millennium, because at least "two thousand five" makes perfect sense!

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