Wednesday 26 October 2011

A Mathematical Approach to Bullshit

Mrs. A and Mrs. B are meeting for lunch.  The total time of the visit was 2.5 hours long.  Mrs. B asked Mrs. A fifteen questions about her life/children with the sole intention of one-upping Mrs. A's every response and dominating the conversation with braggings of her own beloved child under the guise of polite conversation.  Mrs. A was given approximately 30 seconds to one full minute to answer each question before Mrs. B launched into a five minute anecdote about her child, wherein she assures Mrs. A of the unquestionable superiority of said child.   

Answer the following questions: 

1) What is the maximum possible number of minutes Mrs. A was allowed to share some of her life with her friend she hasn't seen in months?  How many hours would that be?  What is the percentage?  Express this as a fraction.

2)  How many minutes of the conversation was dominated by Mrs. B's mindless chatter about her favourite child?  How many hours would that be?  Express as a percentage and a fraction.

3)  How many minutes of the conversation are left over for meaningful conversation (assuming of course that Mrs. B does not dominate that time with general complaints about everything in her life) between friends?

4)  Approximately how many units of alcohol will Mrs. A need to consume in order to prevent the rage stroke  she feels coming on?

5)  If each anecdote Mrs. B tells represents a week of avoidance from Mrs. A, how long will it be before Mrs. A is able to tolerate another visit from Mrs. B?

6)  What is the statistical likelihood of Mrs. A punching Mrs. B in the face if Mrs. B doesn't pull her head out of her ass?

7)  If you answered question 6 correctly you will see that Mrs. A needs a wake up call.  Please inform Mrs. A  of how long she may have to spend time in jail if she indulges in her face-punching whim.  Express this number as a percentage of her children's lives relative to their ages.

8)  What are the odds that Mrs. A will be able to drop this particular acquaintance  thereby avoiding all future rage strokes?


1) Mrs. A could not have spent more than 15 minutes answering Mrs. B's questions.  That is only 0.25 hours, or 10% of the conversation or 1/10.

2)  Mrs. B yakked about her kid for 75 minutes, which is 1.25 hours, or 50% of the conversation or 1/2.

3)  That left 60 minutes (or one hour) of the conversation for Mrs. B to try to relate to Mrs. A in a real way, which is pretty sad because that never happened.  She did indeed complain generally and kiboshed any attempts on the part of Mrs. A to sympathize because, of course, no one suffers like Mrs. B.

4)  A little less than 750 ml of wine.  Maybe only half that if she has a friend with whom to share the wine and the whine.

5)  About 15 weeks or a little less than 4 months.  Unfortunately the holidays are coming sooner than that and with them another visit, which means that Mrs. A might need to prepare in advance by stockpiling boxes of wine.

6)  99.9%

7)  I actually don't know how much time aggravated assault gets you but any time is too much.  Never, never set that example for your kids Mrs. A, because no matter how much time you spend in jail it will always be much longer for your kids.  Calm the fuck down.

8)  Absolutely none.  It is that kind of relationship and Mrs. A is just going to have to suck it up and hope she doesn't develop a serious alcohol dependency.  Life sucks like that sometimes, Mrs. A.  If you can manage to get through this shit you will be a better person for it.


  1. I've pretty much weeded those people out my life.... sounds like Mrs A should do the same.

  2. That is excellent advice and Mrs. A has already been able to drop Mrs. X, Mrs. Y, and Mrs. Z but unfortunately the particular nature of her relationship with Mrs. B makes it only possible for Mrs. A to severely limit the frequency and duration of their visits.

    But hey, when life hands you bullshit you just use it for blogfodder, laugh, and pour another glass of shiraz.