3/06/2008

When I am King: Finders, Keepers

When I am King...

Parents will have better ways to report the stats of their newborn infants:

Typically, an effusive and sleep-deprived new parent will report the news of their new child with some simple statistics. If you're lucky, you'll also get a picture of the new child. And if you're unlucky, you may get some pictures of the birth process. In any event, you'll get some terse information about the vital statistics of the kid, like this:
She's 21 inches long and 11 pounds, 2 ounces
I always think, “Did you get her into the boat, or did she get away?”

Why do we measure children like fish? Is there no better reporting mechanism than length and weight? It's perhaps marginally better than, “She would have Bob's hair if she had any, and she seemed to have my capricious smile before she puked on the nurse.” But there's got to be something better than the raw physical dimensions like you're sizing up a shipping container. In particular, reporting the length, instead of the height, works better for a fish, gasping for breath on the deck of a boat, than for a child. I never tell people I'm 6'1” long. There's something that's just plain wrong about phrasing it that way.

When I am King, there will be a better way. For instance, we could take the same numbers as we already use, but report them differently. For example, we could take the measurements of “21 inches long and 11 pounds 2 ounces” and report it as “21 x 11.2”. Or if we think that's too much like an accountant, we could just multiply the numbers together to just get a single number, as in “She's a 223!” Having a single number would simplify everything and allow easy comparison with other parents' hauls.

Or maybe we should just go bananas with the fish motif and require that all newborns have pictures taken to accompany the stats, held by their parents' fingers in their cheeks, dangling like a prize catch about to be stuffed and mounted.
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