The Metric System
Building off Eastyn’s 10.5 Things that are making my brain hurt article, why do we not use the metric system? For a country that is known for its laziness, we sure put a lot of work into conversion of measurements.
Something is 21.5 miles away. How do we get a better understanding of how far that is? Our basic units of measurement are inches, feet, and yards before we get to miles. Okay, so there is 12 inches in a foot, 3 feet in a yard, and…wait how many yards in a mile again? Look away while I do a quick google search and then pretend I knew the answer the entire time. 1,760 yards in a mile, wow. Alright, so I just have to divide, no multiply 21.5 by 1,760, let me pull out my phone and get a calculator. Damn it, my phone is dead cause its been searching for service all day. Damn you AT&T! Okay, playing Candy Crush might have also contributed.
You know what would be easier? If we had a system of measurement where we only had to move the decimal point in order to make conversions. If we were in Europe, and something was 21.5 km away it would be easy to convert to the other basic unit of measurement, hectometer, decameter, meter, decimeter, centimeter, and all the way down to millimeter.
21.5 kilometers = 215 hectometers, 2,150 decameters, 21,500 meters, 215,000 decimeters, 2,150,000 centimeters, and 21,500,000 millimeters.
How easy was that? And the best part is all those prefixes carry over to any unit of measurement? Liters, grams, girth. Whatever you want to measure the metric system is easy to use. As a nation of immigrants, how did we not bring this with us through the gates at Ellis Island? Was it some sort of power move? A big fuck you to the rest of the world? “Hah, anyone can use your simple, universally agreed upon decimal system for measurement. The metric system is for pussies. Try converting feet into yards without using a calculator. Alright, we can’t do that either.”
Seriously though, it makes zero sense to me. Why has a politician never brought this up as a major issue in America? Education reform is a popular buzzword, but I’ve never heard of teaching the metric system as an essential aspect of said reform. Our non-sensical, dumbass system of measurement has become too ingrained in our lexicon. Can you imagine the outrage if Joe Buck applauded a fantastic 32 meter TD run by Adrian Peterson? Roughly 35 yards, 34.88 to be a bit more exact.
To highlight how messed up our system is the next unit of measuring distance after inches is centimeters. Centimeters? What did we start using the metric system and get bored? I really wish this is something that changes in my lifetime. But when I think of the overhaul that needs to happen and the confusion it will cause I know that it never will. Instead, I just have to hope I can get over our inability to use the easiest system ever invented.