While still on the lookout for the significant change that i was told to believe in, my innate – but well cultivated – cynicism has gotten the upper hand. We’re not leaving Iraq anytime soon; we’ll probably hang around almost as long as the depleted uranium munitions we use. Afghanistan is just heating up, but that was to be expected. Our first minority president seems intent on solving the gay rights question with a separate but equal answer. The automotive industry will, apparently, be righted by an investment banker. And Vegas has the insurance industry favored heavily to come out on top in health care “reform”.
So be it. If Americans believed every advertising campaign that was rolled over us, we’d picture ourselves as a land of skinny, white-toothed celebrities consuming the latest thing as if it would make our existence complete and wonderful…oh, yeah, well, um…never mind.
Not that Mr. Obama is concerned with winning my good graces, but if wants them then he need only make a simple declaration:
“Henceforth the United States of America will fully and finally adopt the International System of Units for weights and measures.” (You may know of that system as the metric system.) See, that’s simple and it wouldn’t even requiring admission that marijuana is not an evil corrupter of youth or giving gay people equal rights or ending his beloved drone attacks on South Asian villages.
The morons, idiots and overly recalcitrant will put up a fuss, but fuck ‘em if they can’t multiply and divide by ten. They all got used to buying pop in two liter bottles, didn’t they?
The Republicans will cry that it is un-American, because it’s patriotic to blow up a multi-million dollar Mars orbiter over a missed conversion. They’ll also miss the fact that the military is already heavily metrified in order to operate with our allies (who, by the way, all use the metric system).
Mr. Obama will almost certainly listen to their heartfelt concerns and attempt to find the “center” between us looney-left liberals and the red-blooded conservatives on this issue. But his triangulation will fall apart like the aforementioned Mars orbiter when he bungles a necessary conversion. And by this the superiority of the metric system will be made evident…as will the hopelessness of Clintonian triangulation. Two birds with one stone, i.e. a hunk of rock rather than an archaic means of telling someone how much you weigh.
No one who’s ever used the metric system seriously will claim that the customary units of the US work better. If you don’t believe me, order some metric measuring devices and try them out on your next home-improvement project. It’s the only way to get the Bob Villa monkey off your back and silence his whispers about measuring it another god-damned time and triple checking your fractions.
Just do it, Mr. Obama. And when the day comes that we no longer have a need for our vestigial set of wrenches i will lead the movement to have them all melted down and turned into a 30 meter tall statue of you in remembrance of your near Promethean act of dragging the United States into some semblance of modernity.
I’d rather build a statue of Obama 100 feet high.
I admit it will be difficult, but it will also be worth it. Certainly this would be better than health care.
But it would apply to health care too! Ie “Make a 25mm incision…”
I’ll be one of the ones weeping with joy when we finally throw our standard tape measures on the bonfire. Who the hell comes up with increments of 12/3/1760?
If you want to help people reluctant to switch along, just start giving them measurements in an inconvenient measurement.
e.g. When cutting a board for a bookshelf, inform them the sides need to be cut 0.0011363636364 miles long. (About six feet) Then remind them if they were using the metric system, they could just start moving the decimal.
JT: I once helped build a house in Austria. Confronted with the task of cutting the drywall around a horrid mass of pipes necessary for the geothermal radiant heating, i started cussing before i had even begun. I imagined 14,000 trips back and forth and probably ruining two sheets. Then i remembered that i was using the metric system. I didn’t even need to write anything down, just remember a string of whole numbers. Fit like a glove; first try.
Brian: A great deal of the medical profession is already metric. Dry medication is measured in grams. Liquid is measured in cubic centimeters.
Slammy: Because obviously we can’t have metric health care and the metric system.