It's All in the Percentages
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I've noticed that 95 percent of Americans who quote percentages are just making them up about 87 percent of the time, but since it's all math (and the rest of us hate math), we believe them, which makes us pretty darn stupid. Politicians are the worst about "percentage dropping," followed by sportscasters and wives with lazy husbands.

"I guarantee that when Charlotte's husband is home, he's out in the yard 92 percent of the time, cutting the grass, and the other 8 percent he's in the kitchen doing the dishes. And how do you spend 92 percent of your time at home? Lounging on the couch watching NASCAR—or snoring. I have no idea what you do the other 8 percent of the time, and, frankly, I don't want to know. Do you see something wrong with this picture? Well, do ya?"

To be honest, I must admit that 45 percent of those exact words have never been spoken to me in that precise order by anybody in particular at my house on a Saturday afternoon. I just made it up. Honestly. So, shall we continue?

I think it would be safe to say that 98 percent of all politicians, whether they be foreign or domestic, have, at one time or another, quoted figures and statistics that are slightly wide of the mark. They use these numbers to support their position (whether it be vertical or horizontal) because it's a requirement of being in office.

"I do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of our Constitution 97 percent of the time, to serve 51 percent of my constituency because majority rules in a democracy, to wrap my arguments in obscure details and data, and to never let my good judgment be influenced by piles of dirty money, unless it increases my take-home pay by 180 percent and there's only a 2 percent chance of being caught. So help me God."

Before going on, I must admit that 50 percent of the politicians I have met in my lifetime were good, honest, hard-working Americans. The other guy reminded me of a used car salesman.

"I just want you to know that 96 percent of the people who walk through our lot believe this car, this one right here, is a piece of junk. They don't even give it a second look. But I'm here to tell you they're wrong. Our mechanics gave 110 percent of their time and effort to make this car the Cinderella of the lot. And if you buy it right here, right now, right this minute, I'll drop that sticker price by 38 percent—and I don't do that for just anybody. So, you want to take it for a test drive?"

Before going on, I must admit that 50 percent of the used car dealers I have met in my lifetime were good, honest, hard-working Americans. The other guy reminded me of a politician.

When it comes to numbers, only sportscasters have earned my trust. Their jobs are built upon facts and figures, statistics and averages, hits and runs, steroids and dog fights. Ninety-nine percent of them could give Einstein a run for his money, which wouldn't be that hard, considering he's dead.

"Ivan 'Pudge' Rodriguez, 14-time All-Star catcher and 13-time Golden Glove winner, let a bouncing ball pass him on Wednesday, giving the Minnesota Twins a two-game sweep over the Rangers which pulled the Twins within 5 1/2 games behind Detroit, despite being four games under .500."

(I know it's not rocket science, but it sounds pert near close.)

To make matters worse, there is a sub-class to "percentage droppers." I refer to them as the "point five-ers." Not only do they talk in percentages, but they talk in fractions of percentages. These people are dangerous. Avoid them if you can; run if you have absolutely no other choice.

"You are not going to believe the product I'm going to show you today. It's 100 percent clean, it's 100 percent useful, it's 100 percent cost effective, and only 21.5 percent of the population knows about it. That's right, I said 21.5 percent. Surprised? You should be. But for the unbelievable initial low cost of $37.95, you won’t be classified as a 'backwoods boob' like 78.5 percent of the population. You'll be in the 21.5 percent group, and we take all major credit cards."

Just to let you know, I wouldn't believe a word I say. 92.5 percent of the stuff that comes out of my mouth is made up. The other 7.5 percent may be true, but why take the chance?

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