Thursday, August 8, 2013

Picktures and Pieces 29: Easy as 3-6-9

by Randall Auxier

At the moment, a dollar will buy you 6 Swedish Crowns, roughly. The Swedes decided not to convert to the euro, a decision that is looking better every day. It comes as no surprise to the Swedes. It is not that Swedes can’t be surprised, but perhaps they are just a bit more down to earth than your average sub-ethnicity.

Decorum is important here, and so we will not speak of snubbing the EU, or of self-interest above common interest. We won’t mention neutrality in the Second World War, while the Danes were annexed, the Norwegians conquered and occupied, while the Fins were obliged to choose between Stalin and Hitler (and no win proposition if ever I heard one).

But people of questionable self-control remark in this country (in soft voices) that the Nazis, examining their task of world domination, stopped in Sweden, looked around, said: “everything is in order here,” and passed on –to the great relief of the Swedes, one supposes. I have never heard anyone express disappointment at Swedish neutrality, really. I think anyone who can read a map can see that a declaration of neutrality was worth trying. Resistance was futile and more could be done to aid the cause of good from a neutral position than from contributing a few hundred thousand Swedish corpses to the pile. It isn’t an accident that the Swedes played such a crucial role in the formation and stabilization of the United Nations after the war.

Like the current troubles of the EU, the coming of peace was foreseeable, and had Hitler prevailed, we still would have needed the Swedes. Indeed, they would have been even more important to that world (may we never see it, and throw some salt over your shoulder). This studied independence of character is not to be despised. It is coupled with a disinclination to be aggressive, although the Danes haven’t forgotten the battles of the 1660s, when they lost control of southern Sweden for good. The Fins can tell similar stories, but these could be justified by the Swedish insistence upon a realm suited to their long-term survival, which is something every sub-ethnicity needs.

In a way, this is just my point. But in another way, this is about the 6 crowns you can get for a dollar. It’s actually 6.6. Or in other terms, one crown is about half of 33.3 cents. Half of 33.3 cents is about 16.6666666 cents. One cannot work with these numbers. Not at all. I am as good at doing math in my head as anyone you are likely ever to meet (ask my wife), but I cannot spend money intelligently in Sweden. These thirds of thirds refuse to compute. I became desperate. I needed a system –some way of looking at a Swedish menu with some sense of what things cost to me. Is a bottle of wine listed at 230 crowns expensive? Go on, do it in your head if you can. Get back to me when you’re done.

Got it? Yes, that’s a pretty dear price for a bottle of wine.  It’s about $35. But what relation is 35 to 230? It doesn’t want to fall into its computational place. On the other hand, there are about ten crowns in a euro, and even an idiot can figure that. That bottle of wine is about 23 euros, or 24, since the euro is on the decline, but that calculation will get you in the ball park. And with that thought, I discovered the mathematical secret of the Swedish crown. Ballpark. Baseball. Our national pastime is set up on 3’s, 6’s and 9’s. If one could only get the right baseball analogies, one could compute Swedish crowns in one’s head. Now, understand, this is ballpark. So here’s how it works:

Every crown is a strike. Nine (meaningful, individual) strikes is three outs. Three outs is half an inning. It's as easy as that. 

If I moved too fast, think in inning-portions. You can think of a meaningful strike as an inning-part, one ninth of an inning. You’re only pitching (buying) for half of the inning, so you don’t care how the other team’s pitcher is doing. You want your pitcher to throw strikes. And you’re the home team. You are counting only your own pitcher’s strikes.

You look at a product costing 23 crowns, and you say “how many innings?” Answer: you’re in the top of the third and the second batter is in a hole. Three bucks and goodly change. Is it time for a mound visit? Hell no, he’s only throwing strikes in this game. You don’t need a bullpen. This is to say: when shopping in Sweden, Wainwright is always pitching. And he’s always having a good outing. Take my word, 23 crowns is three bucks and change.

What about 230 crowns? Extra innings, right? Not necessary.
Ignore the zeroes and figure out what inning –top of the third, still. But then add the zeroes back in. 30 bucks and a few more. Thus, your marker-increments are actually in base 9, and Wainwright is pitching, so no walks.

With this method, you can defeat the evil Swedish plot to make us spend all our money. There are, to be honest, balls as well as strikes, but remember, Wainwright is pitching. The balls will not result in walks –and if they do, Molina will gun them down at second base, because the Swedes don't have meaningful currency units below the crown. So you can round off.

Now, when my spouse asks me “how much did you spend in Sweden?” I can answer with all honesty “I had an excellent season! Twenty wins!” Oh wait. I forgot the zeroes. . . . "Hall of fame career, dear." 

No comments:

Post a Comment