I have always had a fascination with figures, having been taught by my older sisters how to count to 10 on my fingers while turning pages of one of their school books.

Later I was taught to count to 20, on my toes, while running barefoot down a dusty cow path bringing the seven-head dairy herd of Jerseys home from the knee-deep lush green clover pasture at milking time.

My older brothers showed me, out behind the barn, how to extend this number to 21, while writing our names, which showed a mellow yellow in the snow. Nevertheless, no matter what approach was taken, math ended up scoring the highest marks of any subject in grade school.

My father, having taught me the alphabet backwards at the age of three, left me enjoying the mix and matching of the 26 alphabet letters. Though phonetic spelling often threw a screw into my high-marks-winning ability, low marks never watered down my desire to express the thoughts that crossed my mind within the printed word.

“Don’t ever underestimate the power of the press,” so quoted some literary mastermind, or quack, whichever, obviously a little more educated than me, who undoubtedly left an impression that stuck deep within the marrows of my bones.

On randomly digging through my long-ago overstuffed info envelope, I came across, as often before, the facts and figures that prove with little doubt that mathematics and the alphabet, though seemingly strange bedfellows, go rather well together.

Professing no bragging rights for formula formulation leaves me nursing a nagging reluctance to disguise the fact that thoughts of others quite often gel within the confines of my mind, including, the how, the which, or the what that adds up to 100 percent in the average person’s life.

If: A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z represents 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 respectively, then the following is also true:

– H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K: 8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%;

– K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E: 11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%;

– A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E: 1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%.

A comfortable common sense balance, don’t you think?

But then again there is: B-U-L-L-S-*-*-*: 2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%.

Topping that is: A-*-*-K-I-S-S-I-N-G: 1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 127%.

So there you have it, folks.  Facts and figures tend not to paint a deceptive picture, but if you want to get high up there on the political podium, the latter two are listed for you. Forget about common sense.

All that is needed in addition is M-O-N-E-Y, M-E-D-I-A, and M-I-N-O-R-I-T-I-E-S to snare the required votes. I’m going to let you work those three out for yourself, or perhaps you could create an unnecessary job by asking a kid on the street to do it for you, but they total 231%.

Tell me if I’m wrong. But I think I could one day be addressing you as the new “prime minister.” Just don’t tell anybody that I told you how you done gone went and done did it. ‘Cause I just don’t want anyone to know how it’s apparently now being done.

As the country and western tune on the radio so jingles, “I got my education out behind the barn,” so, too, there, I got my sense of humour. Check its score.

S-E-N-S-E-O-F-H-U-M-O-U-R: 19+5+14+19+5+15+6+8+21+13+15+21+13+15+21+18 = 228%.

You can’t beat that by much, can you? I think it a strong necessity just to get through life.

Take care, ’cause we care.



Barrie Hopkins