I don't know how many of you have taken a statistics class before. If you haven't yet and you can possibly avoid it in the future, do so. Turn around and run my friend. Run far, far away. Trust me. Math was never my favorite subject in high school. However, as I took college classes, I gained a new apprecation for the mathematic arts. You see each teacher has their own level of pickiness about anything written. It becomes a bit of a guessing game as to how each individual professor would like your writing to be. (And I am fairly certain some are just jealous when you write better than they do. Yes, I am talking to you Religion Professor at University of Phoenix.) Then after you turn in your first paper and get a feel for what they are looking for you can adjust and adapt and hopefully do well enough to pass the class. (And by pass the class I mean get an A. Of course. #insaneperfectionist.)
With math, though, there is normally one right answer and all the other answers are wrong. 2 + 2 = 4. It doesn't matter how you write it. It needs no citation other than (Common Sense). Either x = 7 or x = 32 (We won't get into the instances where x is undefined...I don't buy into all that garbage) it doesn't equal "I don't like your writing style" or "Your thesis is unclear." There's no rubric, no incomplete sentence structure, and (best of all) no formatting. In a word: objective. And one objective class in a sea of subjective classes, well, that is what is known as a life boat.
Or so I thought when I signed up for Stats 1040. Because I am a fool. You have never met a more made up and subjective math in your life as statistics. It's not really even math. Sure, there's a number thrown in here or there, but that doesn't mean it's math. I mean, a calendar has numbers on it. That does not make it math. (Although, it may be more math than statistics is.) I won't go into too much detail so as not to lose you completely, but I will tell you that the calculator itself is harder to master than any machine since the Bowflex. It should require it's very own class called, How to Use an Incredibly Complicated Calculator That Has Words On It Instead of Just Numbers for Morons & Old People.
I know there are people out there who, doubtlessly, statistics makes sense to. I believe they are called statisticians. But I can think of nothing worse than working with stats for a living. Or for any time longer than a semester. I would rather do people's taxes. Wearing socks with sandals. True story.
Well, one fun part of stats class is probability theories. They maketh no sense to me. I know they are great for people who want to calculate their odds of winning 13 out of 46 games of roulette while playing only the number 7, but I am happy enough to know that my odds of winning anything ever are the same as my odds of my workout routine ever making me look like Jessica Biel in a bikini. One in a hugely astronomical number. Like 1 in 1,000,000 to the 7,548th power. That's all I really need to know. Not how many times I am going to draw a yellow ball out of a box with 3 other colors of balls, with or without replacement. Because if I need a yellow ball that bad, I'll just look in the box.
At any rate, trying to learn all of this crap has got me to thinking about percentages and probabilities. So I "calculated" (meaning totally made up) some numbers about things I actually run into in my real life. Just for fun.
#1. The Odds of Getting a Decent Cart at WalMart = 2.74%
To calculate this, I went to WalMart. A lot. Because I live in a small town. That has nothing but WalMart. Each time I went, I used a shopping cart. Because even if I am alone and only need one thing, I hate to carry around my very heavy purse. And because it can be used as a weapon in the event that there is only one bottle of Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer on the shelf. Plus, if you are pushing a shopping cart and looking like you are very much on a mission, less people stop to talk to you. (Did I mention I live in a small town?) So, I did some very complicated formulas and found that less than 3% of the time do I end up with a shopping cart that doesn't squeal. Or have a loose wheel. Or veer to the right. Or smell like cat vomit.
#2. The Odds of My Children Going to Bed By 9 PM = 0%
This is based on the fact that no matter how early or how often I tell my children to go to bed....No. Matter. What. They never go to bed on time. Ever.
#3. The Odds of My Husband Falling Asleep Before the End of a Movie = 98.7%
It's really 99% but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and added in a little room for sampling error. I think in 14 years of marriage, he has completely stayed awake for about 11 out of 845 movies that we have watched together. And that's giving him credit for ones where he fell asleep in the middle and woke up sometime before the end. I'm talking X-Men and Gladiator and Fast & the Furious here, folks. No romantic comedies. No Nicholas Sparks drivel. I don't know if I 'm not good company or if it is just because there aren't enough University of Utah football players in the movies we watch. Maybe it's a combination of the two. But 9 times out of 10 once the snacks are gone...so is he.
#4. The Odds That When I Buy a Box of Cereal For Myself There Will Actually Be Some Left When I Want to Eat Some = 0.14%
I have probably bought about 25 boxes of cereal for myself in 19 years. I have eaten about 1/3 of one of those boxes, combined. I am not so foolish as to think that just because I buy something for myself, I will actually get to partake of said something. Those hopes were dashed the moment my children were mobile enough to accesss the pantry. Or the fridge. Or the very back of my nightstand drawer underneath a map of Bryce Canyon. Every now and then, though, I get this feeling like if I buy my kids 12 lb bags of Fruity Pebbles and Captain Crunch With Crunchberries, they will leave my one poor tiny box of Vanilla Almond Special K alone. Silly mommy, Trix are for kids. And so is everything else. Everything.
#5. The Odds of Me Going to the Bathroom Without Someone Coming In To Ask Me Something = 3%
Kids. Husband. Doesn't matter. The kids are so tenacious, they'll just go grab a butter knife and unlock the door on those occasions when I bother to close & lock it. It's just their little way of once again letting me know that my time is not my own. That 3%? Those are the times that I am home by myself.