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Tuesday Tirade: The Trouble with Teens (the numbers, not the kids)

Sine or cosine? Maybe it’s tangent…

As you may have surmised, you shouldn’t be expecting your complaints about your teenagers—or your neighbor’s—to justified in the following post. This is about another anomaly we call numbers*

How easy is it to count to 100? Learn 1-10, then all you have to know are 20, 30, 40, etc., and you have 90% of the work done. When you get to twenty, everything falls into a nice, predictable order, unlike the teens that follow a different pattern, like they are defiant to all the rules of societ—Wait. Maybe that’s why teenagers are the way they are.

Let’s list the oddities:

Anomaly #1: The Decades

All the decade numbers from twenty have a -ty, so why not call 10, tenty? Then we have to change 20 to Twoty, 30 to threety, 40 to fourty (why did we lose the ‘u?), 50 to fivety, 60 to sixty —Wait! We’re all good to go after that.

Anomaly #2: Eleven

Except for the ‘n’, it has nothing to do with one. At least twelve has 2/ 3rds of the correct letters. We could call it oneven or onevelve.

Anomaly #3: Twelve

We agree that twelve is more aptly named than eleven, but for argument’s sake, let’s call it twoeven or twoelve.

Anomaly #4: The Teens

Only the 11 and 12 deviate from the -teen pattern, but within the pattern, only 14 and 16-19 are consistent. Still not a majority even if 11-13 and 15 band together to form a voting block. It would make it easier if the teens went: oneteen, twoteen, threeteen, fourteen-, fiveteen, etc.

But wait! Did we not decide earlier that the decades should all have -ty?

Anomaly #5: Majority Rules?

If we take the numbers from 10-99 (we will omit 1-9 because that’s our baseline), then 90% of the numbers follow a pattern, so it should be: tenty-one, tenty-two, tenty-three, etc..

Am I done with getting angry at math? For a little while, at least, until I have to figure out why I can cut something into 3 equal parts and hold 1/3rd of a finite piece in my hand, yet 1/3rd as a decimal is 0.333333333333333333333333333333333333333…

Tell that to angry cat. Just let me step out of the room before you do.

-Leon

*(There are some cool things about math, but I’ll leave those for a Weird Wednesday)

Leon Stevens is a blogger, composer, artist, and an author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and PicturesJourneys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar and The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories.
www.linesbyleon.com

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