It's perfect.
It's unbelievable.
It's a miracle
It's a TV dinner.
It's Fuwjax.

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It’s funny, but I finally realized why I’ve never put up a blog about something very near and dear to my heart. That something is my own system of measurement. The reason I’ve never blogged about it is that the name of the unit of measurement in my system was unfortunately named after me. The reason I named it after me was that I was convinced that the world would be a better place if everyone had the chance to say my name every day. The reason that I have gone to great lengths to always refer to myself as “Fuwjax” on this site is because I’m quite content to let the world stay in its current fairly crappy state. But since some of my friends have inadvertently referred to my first name in posted responses, I don’t feel I can justify putting off any longer the first ever public debut of my personal system of measurement.

By the way, my name is Mike, it’s nice to meet you.

As Mike, I’m one Mike unit tall. I weigh one Mike unit. I’ve been alive for one Mike unit. I’m one Mike unit from the sun.

At this moment, you may be thinking, “Yeah, big deal, I’m one Herbert unit tall. I weigh one Herbert unit. I’ve been alive for one Herbert unit. I’m one Herbert unit from the sun. You’re just using your name and pretending you’re all cool for saying ‘unit.’” At least, you might be thinking that if your name is Herbert.

But Herbert, my good reader, couldn’t be more wrong. For Herbert is also one Mike unit tall. He weighs one Mike unit. He’s been alive for one Mike unit. He’s one Mike unit from the sun. At least, he would be if hypothetical readers had height, weight, age, or solar-distance.

In fact, if Herbert stands on my shoulders, then together we weigh one Mike unit. We are one Mike unit tall. And in doing so we demonstrate this stunning principle:

one Mike unit + one Mike unit = one Mike unit

This is fantastic! Our system of measurement acts exactly as a system of measurement should act. Namely adding one measured value to another measured value gives you a measured value, and not some arbitrary silliness. In fact, we can make a very straightforward deduction from this principle:

one Mike unit - one Mike unit = one Mike unit

Ha! I bet you’re a little shocked by that one, but any freshman in algebra knows if you subtract the same thing from both sides, you wind up with an equivalent statement. It turns out that the freshman actually performed some substantially difficult mathematics, since in fact one cannot “cancel” Mike units, but we’ll leave that discussion for some other time.

What is important is that we really are dealing with a system of measurement. If you have two posters on your wall next to each other and you measure the width of the left poster to be one Mike unit and the right one is one Mike unit as well, you can rest assured that they are one Mike unit wide together. And if you had instead first measured the total width of both of them to be one Mike unit and you had already measured one of the posters to be one Mike unit wide, then you would know without a doubt that the other poster was one Mike unit wide.

The point is, this really is a unit of measurement, not just silliness. In other words, if you measure something, you will find it is one Mike unit. I’m not just replacing numbers with “one Mike unit.” Channel 25 on your tv doesn’t become “one Mike unit.” It’s named channel 25, not measured channel 25. But the frequency channel 25 is transmitted on over the air is measured to be one Mike unit. The length of the latest episode of your favorite TV show, which is almost certainly Pushing Daisies, can be measured to be one Mike unit. It was one Mike unit funny. The brightness of your television was set to one Mike unit. There were one Mike unit of commercials which ran for one Mike unit. You get the picture :)

I’d like to point out something that might not yet be obvious. If you had that hypothetical poster on your hypothetical wall again, and you hypothetically measured it was one Mike unit tall and one Mike unit wide, then you would know it had an area of one Mike unit. That is to say:

one Mike unit x one Mike unit = one Mike unit

Fantastic stuff! Not a square Mike unit, there’s no such thing. Just one Mike unit. This of course leads us to the following conclusion:

one Mike unit / one Mike unit = one Mike unit

Isn’t that satisfying? Think of how much easier high school physics would be if I were head of the school board! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Maybe you didn’t notice, but I threw in a measurement you may not be used to when I was talking about the TV show. I implied you could measure “funny”. Most people don’t have a unit for “funny”. In fact, people who do have a unit of measurement for “funny” often get nice padded rooms with nice comfy jackets where they never get to measure “funny” any more. But I digress. You do know how to measure funny. Maybe it’s how many times you laughed, or how many funny one-liners you remember, but you can measure it, and now, you can express it.

I think people get annoyed right about now, because they feel like this is some sort of estimation. But if I would have asked you yesterday how tall you were, you might say something like 5’7”. That’s an estimation. You’re not exactly 5’7”. There’s a good chance you’re not even close. You might be off by a half inch. Or your weight? Even if you know exactly how much you weighed this morning, that’s only an estimate to how much you weigh now. And even then, you’d be fairly lucky to have a calibrated scale. And even then it’s probably only to the nearest pound. Estimation like crazy!

But with Mike units, there is no estimation. I am exactly one Mike unit old. I was exactly one Mike unit old when I wrote this statement. I’m exactly one Mike unit old when you read this statement. Exactly. No estimation at all.

About now you might be thinking “Fine, you have your own system of measurement, so what?” So what? So everything!

How much longer till they stop showing MASH reruns? one Mike unit. How many WMD’s really were in Iraq? one Mike unit. How far will the Dow Jones index fall today? one Mike unit. When will Fuwjax post his next blog entry? one Mike unit.

What probably bothers you most, and if it doesn’t, should bother you most, is that you lose the ability to compare measurements. If I run a one Mike unit race in one Mike unit and you run a one Mike unit race in one Mike unit, how do we know who won? My response to that is simple. Why do you want to know who won?

Why do you want to compare measurements in the first place? You’re looking for quantitative justification to make a qualitative statement. In my opinion that’s arbitrary to begin with. You ran faster so you’re a winner? That’s silly. I say just measure the difference in the first place. Bob ran one Mike unit faster than Mimi, so Bob’s the winner. Sure Mimi could have measured that Bob actually ran one Mike unit slower, and she’d be right too. So Mimi should be the winner. And now everyone is measurably the winner. Isn’t that great?

Think how many wars were started just because people were capable of comparing measurements (one Mike unit wars, that’s how many). There have been so many lives lost (one Mike unit) and money wasted (one Mike unit) trying to take other countries’ lives and money (together, one Mike unit). Or think how many people have been hurt (one Mike unit) by unscrupulous business owners trying to make a profit (one Mike unit) at their employees’ expense (one Mike unit). It’s all because those business owners could compare their wealth to their fellow unscrupulous business owners wealth and decide that they needed more to keep up with the Joneses.

I think that the world is crappy just because it is so easy to compare measurements. I wasn’t kidding when I said the world would be a better place if everyone said my name every day. Try it. For lunch tomorrow, try only eating one Mike unit of food. Spend one Mike unit with your kids. Give one Mike unit to charity. And you’ll see, you’ll be doing one Mike unit worth of stuff you already did even if you never do it. You’ll notice that one Mike unit of guilt you usually carry around every day will feel one Mike unit lighter by the time one Mike unit rolls by. Throw away your calendars and your clocks, they tell the wrong time any way. You know what time it is. It’s one Mike unit.

Welcome to a brave new world. Freedom, thy name is Mike unit.

Jason said on 2009-03-03

This just reminds me of the questions from your test. I didn’t understand those either, lol.

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