Lynn Hummel: Top 10, make that 9, predictions
I just read an article written by a mother where she listed the top 10 things she had learned from her children during the past year.
Why 10? Suddenly the question jumped out at me: Why do we insist on counting everything by tens?
You could say it all started with Moses, who climbed to the top of Mount Sinai in the desert and was greeted with thunder and the word from above declaring the 10 commandments.
There is a cartoon that shows Moses coming down with three stone tablets with five commandments on each for a total of 15. Then he stumbles and drops one of the tablets, breaking it, leaving only 10 (but adultery is on the remaining tablet).
If that third tablet hadn’t broken, what would the other five commandments have been?
But more to the point of our inquiry today, if we had 15 commandments, would we be measuring everything by 15s?
We measure years by decades, spans of ten. You don’t hear people saying “it was sure different nine years ago.” No, they say 10. We think in tens.
We also measure probability by tens.For example, if you’re talking about the chances of whether the disappointing Vikings will make the playoffs next year under a new coach, you’d ask, “On a scale of one to 10, how likely are they to make it?”
If you asked that same question on a one to nine scale, all you’d get is puzzled looks. Or one to 11, for that matter.
There was a movie in 1979 named “Ten,” starring Bo Derek. The movie was more visual than intellectual, as I recall, with the idea being that a girl with perfect looks and a perfect figure is a perfect 10. I wouldn’t doubt that same scale is still used today.
A standard feature of the David Letterman show is the top 10 list. For example, the top 10 things you say to the member of the opposite sex, a stranger, who is in the elevator with you when it gets stuck between floors.
Some of these top 10 ideas are so stupid, you can’t believe grownups get paid for thinking them up.
I can’t shake the top 10 syndrome myself. In my last article, I ran out of time and space for predictions and made only one.
So here, to round out a list of 10, are predictions two through nine for 2014:
2. North Dakota’s population will grow 3.7 percent to reach a total of 750,000.
3. The 750,000th resident of North Dakota will be a baby boy named Max, born in Max, N.D.
4. Miley Cyrus will leave show business to become a nun. She will be known as Sister Hanna Montana.
5. On a scale of one to 10, Bo Derek, now middle aged at 57, will be rated a five.
6. Joe Mauer, playing first base for the Twins, will continue to grow long sideburns and will bat .365.
7. Seventy-five percent of vitamin users will continue to gulp vitamins even though they have recently been shown to be almost worthless. I will continue to take my one-a-day until the well runs dry in 12 days.
8. Ninety percent of males over 60 will continue to lose hair.
9. Inspired by the call of Pope Frances, Kim Kardashian will retire from whatever it is she does, will renounce riches and glamour, and will fly to Zimbabwe to volunteer in a 10-year anti-poverty program, feeding the poor and hungry.
10. And finally, when e-cigarettes continue to develop and root beer becomes the most popular flavor, I’ll say I told you so.