I Fakt You, Right In The Face:
So. We’ve all heard that one about the ice-hearted sleazy government fuckoids who have, using arcane Mathematical Practices, worked out in actual real Dollars how much you’re worth. Yes? The actual monetary-value of a living moving communicating human creature. Yes.
Probably we’ve all scoffed, haven’t we, in violin-dirgeing fairy-hearted soft-focus outrage at that same notion. “How dare they!?” we shriek, indignant through our mentholated cig-smoke and beerburps. How dare those materialistic ballwarts try to quantify love and compassion and creativity and… and, y’know, faith ‘n happiness ‘n pain ‘n shit. Pure Human Emotion, man! How dare they assign anything so crude as a pricetag to one of God’s Creations? Every life is priceless, man! And the life of a child? — hell! — that’s Priceless +$200, at least.
Fuck fuck fuck fuck off.
The truth is that the real assigned dollar-value of an average American human — and, yes, there is one — has nothing to do with their mind, their hearts, their emotions, their unique-like-a-snowflake invaluableness. That would be stupid, don’t you think? ‘Course you do. Status Quo upheld, Magic Of Life preserved, Warm Fuzzy Glow readministered. Yay.
No, what the statistic actually is, is a financial estimate based on a calculation of risk in the context of everyday life. It’s a number used by your Frightening Ray-Ban-Wearing Overlords to prevent Come-Back-And-Bite-You-In-The-Ass™ Situations related to new laws, rules or practices.
Here it is:
You, oh Average American, are currently worth $6.9m. That’s £4.3 million, in proper money.
Which is a lot more than I thought it’d be. Sorry.
The way it works is, for example, that I — your Earthly Political Representative (and I need you to roleplay with me here, because I suckle nourishment from your fantasy empowerment) — have come up with an ingenious new Law to ban the sale of Frozen Swordfish in supermarkets. Y’see, y’see: earlier this year one of my constituents was cruelly — cruelly! — robbed of his life, when he bent to extract a bag of frozen shrimp from the fish cabinet and accidentally skewered himself through the brain with the icicle-like rapier of a marlin’s facephallus. OBviously I can’t allow it to happen again. This sort of wanton icthyoid impalement is UnAmerican and UnGodly, dernit, and I’m putting my foot down Rrrright Now.
But then the Number Guys get involved. And what they work out is that this new law will cost $43m to implement and enforce every year. Moreover, over the past few decades, you’ve got an average of 6 fish-stab related deaths per annum. Whiiiiich, when you whack it through the MathsFakt Machine — using the current LifeValue of $6.9m — tells you that the great Piscine-Spike Scandal is costing America $41.4m every year in lawsuits, investigative process, lost revenue, antifish backlash rallies, and fucking stupid waste-of-cash surveys like the one you’ve just conducted.
In other words: it’s cheaper to keep-on letting people die than to change a thing.
That‘s why the Gov needs to know how much you’re worth.
The figure itself is based on a raft of payroll and poll data from across the country; like how much extra wonga you’d expect in your paycheck if your boss asked you to incorporate Feeding The Velociraptors into your daily routine. Brilliantly, the overall figure was reduced halfway through ’08, after a load of political wrangling, as a direct result (hahahahahit’safix) of the recession: which means that not only do you take home less pay, and not only does your favourite Greasebucket deal at KFC cost a fraction more, but also that whereas 2 years ago you could’ve expected politically-assured protection from the evils of swordfish-related manslaughter, nowadays the cost of removing those glassy-eyed frostfaced deathtraps from your superstore freezer-cabinet is too much to handle. The fuckers!
So, anyway, la-de-dee. There’s nothing mystical about it after all: no attempt to quantify the esoteric. Just maffs and stats; dull dull dull. The depressing FAKT is that you, o gentle reader — with your glittering and unique life of perfect understanding and spiritual creativity, resonating at one with the universe and all of God’s Fine Works — are worth precisely the same as the hairy-earlobed hobgoblin who just sat down next to me on this Snow-Delayed Train, whose rancid breath reeks so strongly of unchewed Kebab Meat that I’m beginning to suspect I’m actually drunk after a Big Night Out, sat in a Turkish Fast Food grotpit awaiting my well-deserved Abortion-In-A-Bun, and am hallucinating this whole train/column-writing/statistical bollockfest.
This guy and you? SAME VALUE. Money is the ultimate equality-bringer, my chums.
Here’s a curveball. Ready?
It costs more to execute a deathrow prisoner than it does to keep them in jail for the rest of their natural lives. TRUE FAKT. That’s definitely relevant to this whole blether somehow, but I’m too pissed to force a smoother segue, and anyway I’ve got to go tell the dude to put extra curry-sauce on my kebab.
All maths, all maths. Numberfucking! Yee-haw!
Still, people have tried. People really have attempted to do the thing we’re all so indignant about: assigning a value to something as airy-fairy as an Individual. The combined esoteric detritus of a life; physical, emotional, spiritual, astral and irrational. Lawsuits, life-insurance claims, divorce proceedings, unlawful death compensations… In all of them, all across your big-ass country, sharp-suited scumfucks have stood-up before judges, and tried desperately to assign values to a person’s perceived potential, or their popularity, or their fashion sense, or their sexual prowess, or How Good They Are With Kids, or the size of their meatwands, or fuck em fuck em fuck em.
One recent spaffstorm of this kind centres round an attempt by one “Paul Frijters” of the Queensland University of Technology. He set out, as you do, to determine the value of Happiness. Like, how much it’d be worth to your life — you, right now, today, you miserable depressive column-reading sadness-jockey — to introduce a big fat dose of Happy to your daily existence. The mathematics involved, you’ve got to hope, was the sort of inventive fun that bored students everywhere dream of: the price of a backstreet orgasm divided by your ranking in a baboon-like hierarchical circle of friends and family, multiplied by your personal ratio of Smugisms-to-headaches, and then subtracted from a cosmic constant achieved by distilling laughing-gas from the shadow of a rutting unicorn, ploughing it through the artificial God Equation, then shitting into a calculator and hitting “=”. Even more amazing than the attempt itself, in fact even even more amazing than the fact that the team involved came up with a fucking answer, is the assertion that happiness is worth significantly different amounts depending on your gender.
If you’re a bloke, they say, happiness is “worth” exactly £18k (which is about $29k). For a woman, it’s a mere £9k ($14.5). Behold the power of (ahahaha) TRUENESS.
What makes all this nonsense truly delicious is a bunch of other statistical splatter — this time issued by Britain’s Ministry of Defence — on the subject of compensation entitlements for soldiers injured in Iraq of Afghanistan. Oooooo, sound the Topical Alarm. It’s a sliding scale, basically, suggesting maximum figures payable for the loss of legs, arms, buttocks, noses, ears, etc etc, in firefights, IED incidents, and so on.
You know what’s coming, right? Om nom nom, taste that FAKT-Anticipation…
The complete loss of a soldier’s cock will earn him nine thousand English Pounds. Really and truly. £9k for his todger. Nine grand for his tackle, his bits, his danglies, his third leg, his pink oboe, his purple tentacle, his flu-stricken elephant, and other such Cheap Comedy names.
It will not have escaped your notice, no, because you’re a smart and attentive reader, that if we choose to believe every number so far hurled at us — and I don’t know about you, but I have complete faith in the True And Righteous Faktisms of Real And Honest Statisticians — then Happiness, to a woman, is worth exactly One Dick.
Not exactly a victory for feminism there, but NUMBERS DON’T LIE.
It also proves — finally and, yes, INCONTROVERTIBLY — what I’ve always suspected: that no human male will ever be truly, truly happy, until he has two fully-functioning todgers.
Three cheers for mathematics.
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C/O William Christensen,
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(Disclaimer: Secretly, I’m nice.)
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