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Faux Outrage

Literally the most important blog in the universe since 2010.

Category Archives: Insanity!

You are walking across a major street.

There is no traffic light at this intersection.

You are in a crosswalk, legally.

You have the right of way.

A blue Ford Focus approaches, one block away.

At its current trajectory, the car will intersect your path in 5 seconds.

Technically, the driver is obliged to slow down.

Is there a part of you that wants to get hit by this car just to prove a point?

We love so very much to be right.

I have this thought almost every single day.  On the days that I walk home from work, I will access this (completely frightening) part of my brain no less than four times in a thirty minute period.  I fully admit this subconscious anti-prayer is probably the craziest thing that I continue to think even after determining it to be insane, but I seem to be completely unable to shake this brand of analysis from my frontal lobe.

And I don’t think I am alone.

We often say that our egos are fragile, but I disagree.  On the contrary, our egos are so sturdy that there is a part of each of us unwilling to sacrifice even a single bit of pride if it would mean kowtowing to a unknown person with whom we have had zero previous interactions.  In this respect, our egos are quite a bit sturdier than conventional wisdom suggests.

Even in circumstances where we would obtain no benefit — fringe or otherwise — and in fact would suffer a huge detriment, we are obsessed with being right.  Being right, above all else, is the best feeling in the world, and we know that because there is a part inside all of us that believes our being in a situation where we are right and they are wrong outweighs the complete and total bummer of getting clipped by a Ford Focus.

The hit-by-car example is extreme (because it involves our potential demise), but this kind of I-am-so-right-I-hope-someone-challenges-me internal monologue infects our lives in all kinds of (awful) ways.

When we are sitting on an insult — one we cannot wait to use! — praying that a permanent or temporary enemy verbally abuses us, our sturdy egos are showing.

When we hope we will spot a stranger steal a purse from an old lady so that we can track him down — because we are sure it’s the right thing to do! — we are confusing our own self-love with the far better scenario of living in a world without violent crime.

When we know the answer — er, “question” — to the Double Jeopardy “answer” and hope the Defending Champion will simply frown and shrug her shoulders, we are favoring our own internal righteousness over a stranger who has had — and will continue to have — no impact on our life.  It is more than a little bit strange that we root against another human in a simple trivia contest thousands of miles away so that we can have a moment of ego-stroking — even if no one is around to see or hear about it!

In the animal kingdom, “ego” is understood in terms of natural instinct.

For example, when two rams are butting heads in the wild, though we are tempted to personify their actions in terms of “pride,” we recognize that they are engaging in behavior inherent to their existing in the first place.  Rams accept these challenges in order to display dominance and prove their genetic worth to ewes (aka, “lady rams”).

Perhaps, even while walking in traffic, we are ultimately unable to shake these ram-like, animal instincts.  We want to be challenged.  We want to be able to show off our righteousness to passersby, even if our display results in a precarious situation.  We still have these aggressive pride instincts bottled up and desire circumstances within the society we have created to act on them.  Even if those circumstances involve a car and a crosswalk.

It is possible that humans have evolved slower than our social societies have.

That we generally lack serious conflict in our day-to-day lives speaks volumes of the society a sub-set of humans have been able to create, but puts us in the unique position of not being able to test our still-quite-functional animal instincts.  Our egos have been cultivated over time in a way that suggests our high opinion of ourselves comes not only from our parents clapping as hard as they can during our performance of I’m A Little Teapot, but also from our parents DNA and all of the DNA proceeding.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe I need to get out of the street.

Much has been made of the Mayan prediction that the world is going to end this year, in 2012.  So far, four days down, 362 (leap year!) to go.

Are any of us prepared?

Though nowadays we politely chuckle at the notion that scientifically-inclined folks once believed the sun revolved around the earth, there’s not much going on these days to suggest that we’ve ever truly shaken that particular mentality.  Despite the fact that we have mastered the science of heliocentrism, humans continue to fundamentally believe that we — in all of our glory! — are the very real center of the universe.

There are a number of reasons to be skeptical of the Mayan 2012 prediction, not the least of which is the fact the geniuses who put together the calendar in question are the same ones who relied on human sacrifice and were not able to predict their own demise.  In essence, the Mayans are not a civilization known for their ability to plan ahead of time.

Further, just like we’ve always known about the advice of Miss Cleo, the credibility of any professional prognosticator collapses upon realizing that the predictor is frantically exploring methods of fiscal solvency.  Those who could accurately predict the future would certainly not need to rely on my $2.99/minute nor have a business model based almost entirely on the viability of off-peak ad buys on basic cable.  The Mayans, of course, were not selling their calendar for profit, but I’m sure they had a vested interest in maintaining its authority.

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You probably wouldn’t take too seriously the advice of a sopping-wet weatherman running through a parking lot in the rain with a newspaper over his head yelling, “Weather predictions!  Get your weather predictions!  Only $5 a piece!” and yet, here we are, giving tongue-and-cheek credence to a civilization composed of peoples who weren’t even around long enough to see hampsterdance.com.

Generally, when we refer to the Mayan 2012 warning, we take it to mean that “the world is going to end in 2012.”  But unless you think the sun is going to explode, or the entire universe is going to implode, or the large hadron collider is going to create an event that somehow sucks our big blue planet into a literal oblivion, the planet earth is going to be just fine.

To reiterate, here is a list of horrible things that would not actually be the end the world:

  1. Nuclear war leading to the end of all biological life
  2. Biblical flood leading to the end of all life
  3. Natural disasters leading to the end of all life
  4. Hyper-contagious biological virus leading to the end of all life
  5. The Rapture (as I understand it)

If any of those things were to happen, the world would still be here.

The world would be fine.

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We are not exactly keen on the Mayan people’s fondness for attempting to shape the future predicated on a steady diet of blood letting and human sacrifice, so it’s a little suspicious and weird that we consider any of their predictions at all.  And yet, when you think about it, it’s actually not too surprising that we are laser-focused on their end-of-the-world declaration when you consider our collective self-obsession.  That it comes as no surprise to any us that we are alive during the end point in the history of a planet that is around 4.5 billion years old should come as no surprise.

No surprise at all.

So how shocking is it, really, that we once believed the sun revolved around us?

Let’s say the Mayans were (are?) right.  Let’s even go as far as to say that their calendar exists for the sole purpose of sending a message to future inhabitants of the earth that the End of Days is coming, eventually.  If that is the case, we are making the wrong kinds of preparations (not to mention the wrong kinds of movies).  We are focused on nuclear war, religious war, and environmental catastrophe when the reality is that none of these things would literally lead to the end of the world.

And so here we are, in what could be — but is, for the record, totally not — the pivotal moment in the world’s history and we are too self-absorbed to even digest the dire warning correctly.  When we think of the world or universe ending, the absolute worst thing that we can imagine — in the deepest, darkest, scariest portion of our highly-developed brains —  is that we and our human companions are no longer kicking soil around on the earth’s crust.  But just as you do not cease to exist when an army of red ants is maliciously swiped from your leg, the world will be just fine without us stomping around on an insignificant portion of its surface area.

If the world were to end as we presume, via hellfire from the sky, or from a Great Flood, or as the result of continents-wide earthquakes or a supervirus, we would just be another notch on nature’s bedpost, just like the dinosaurs who romped around for a time before us.

I bet the tallest brontosaurus, in his tiny walnut-sized brain, as asteroids began to rain unapologetically from the sky, thought to himself, “The world is ending (and I never even figured out why my arms are so hilariously short)!”

Since we humans are proof that the world did not end ex post dinosaurus, we should also recognize that the same will true if (when?) we are systematically wiped from the planet in the next 12 months.

The phrase “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results” is often attributed to a guy named Albert Einstein.

We attribute these words to Einstein in part because the fundamental idea presented (“Experiment!”) certainly seems like something he would have subscribed to — if our celebrity-obsessed caricature of him is to be maintained — and also because we tend to stare extra hard at words when we know that they were uttered by a person that we generally respect (even if that particular person is at least partially responsible for 200,000 human casualties, give or take).

As it turns out, though Einstein said a lot of things, there is no record of him having made this particular quip about the relationship between insanity and repetitive thing-doing.  The reality is that the quote should be credited to Rita Mae Brown, a relatively and theoretically famous writer, but not the really famous writer of the Theory of Relativity.  That we attribute this quote over and over again to Einstein is, in my opinion, is equal parts insane and ironic.

Regardless of where the quote originated, and despite the fact that there is ample reason to discourage repetitive, unsuccessful thing-doage, I don’t think it quite captures precisely what it means to be/act “insane.”  Instead, I think we should start printing the following on posters, from sea to shining sea:

“Insanity is dealing with a problem effectively at first but then, for no discernible reason, ignoring the solution and replacing it with nothing.”

In other words, everything we need to know about insanity can be understood by addressing the rise and fall of the standard, no-frills bicycle bell.  And though this tiny bell has never been a reason to commit an otherwise healthy person to a padded room, our complacency about (at best) or disdain for (at worst) this metallic marvel is nothing short of cuckoo.

The percentage of bikes that sport a bell, so far as I can tell, has taken a nosedive.  And though we still are very much living in the same world and surrounded by the same circumstances that necessitated the invention of the bicycle bell, we seem to have chosen to remove the bell from our bikes and replace it with…nothing.

Instead, bikers are “forced” to hearken back to the olden days and insist on warning pedestrians by yelling any number of versions of the technically accurate though actually most dangerous phrase in the universe“On your left!  Your left!”

This string of words produces, a vast majority of the time, precisely the opposite reaction than the speaker hopes.  When a thinking person hears, from behind, someone anxiously shriek, “Your left!”, the natural, understandable and immediate reaction is to move quickly to the left (directly into the bike’s warpath).  A far more effective technique would be to take this standard warning call and replace it with literally any other loud noise, which would prompt a pedestrian to triangulate the location/distance of the bike and move their body appropriately.

Literally any other loud noise.

You know, like a bell.

Ideally, when a new technology results in unintended negative consequences, the solution cycle (!) looks like this:

  1. Useful Technology invented 🙂
  2. Useful Technology causes unintended badness 😦
  3. Implement Other Thing to limit unintended badness 😐
  4. Final Solution = Useful Technology + Other Thing 😀

If we know steps (3) and (4), we should never ignore them nor pretend as though they do not exist.  As Albert Einstein — whose name gives instant credibility to this phrase — once maybe said, “Insanity is dealing with a problem effectively at first but then, for no discernible reason, ignoring the solution and replacing it with nothing.”

In a sane universe, here is how we would deal with the unintended negative consequences of bicycle traffic causing confusion when riders approach and overtake pedestrians:

  1. The bicycle is invented!
  2. The bicycle causes confusion for pedestrians!
  3. Ringing a bicycle bell alerts pedestrians of bike location.
  4. Final solution = Bicycle + bell

Unfortunately, this is not the world we currently live in.

Yet I still have hope that (one day!) we will re-learn to embrace the fantastic power of the simple bike bell.

We’re all a little bit crazy, but some of us are just a little bit more “little bit crazy” than others.  Each of us has our ever-expanding list of idiosyncrasies that, when aggregated and viewed objectively, generate a vague sense of uneasiness and ultimately suggest that we may be better off spending our daylight hours in solitary confinement.

It will not shock you to learn that my personal list is quite long (and quite frightening).  Near the top of this list o’ crazy is something that only recently struck me as odd because I only recently realized that these actions — inactions, really — were even worthy of note.

I don’t know whether “going public” with my disorder will result in an alteration to my behavior, but as with any serious affliction, the only way I will be able to find a remedy is to first admit that I have a problem.

Hello, my name is Zach.

This is my first meeting.

I’m a little embarrassed, but here goes nothing.

I never turn my heater or air conditioning all the way to the max setting.  The only way I would crank the heat or A/C up to “10” is if the unit went to “11”.

Now, before you accuse me of being cheap (guilty!), consider this: I don’t pay for heat, my air conditioning is decidedly inexpensive, and this character flaw existed long before I ventured into that place where people stop being polite and start getting real.  I’ve been averse to the maximum setting for the longest — or should I say, a-little-bit-less-than longest — time.

Unlike most of Faux Outrage, where I am defending inane behaviors from ridicule, I recognize that this behavior is objectively stupid.   It serves no purpose other than to make my life slightly worse in situations where improvement is but a half wrist-twist away.

On the Stupid Scale, it rates a 9 out of 10.

But for your entertainment/horror, here is my crazy-person logic:

Since the “maximum” setting is for the moment of greatest need, only that particular moment is worthy of maximum setting usage.  The result is that each time I operate an air conditioning unit (BONUS PARENTHETICAL RANT: heaters are also “air conditioners” in that they, too, condition the air — with heat), since I can imagine a world colder/hotter than the one I am currently existing in, I feel that now (no matter when “now” is) is not the time for the maximum setting.

Maybe next time, as I watch the sun literally burn a hole through my ceiling, I’ll make the leap and finally learn what “Max A/C” feels like.

Cold, I bet.

Maybe then.

Catholic Church-goers are often reminded of the Seven Deadly Sins, while parishioners of the Church of Baseball wax poetic about written (and especially unwritten) rules.  Even our neighborhood pools come equipped with strong suggestions about our equestrian tendencies (no horseplay!) and mental instabilities (jump off the deep end!).

We are surrounded by rules.

There is no escape.

And yet, the realization that there are too many dos, don’ts, oughts, shalls, and shan’ts has not prevented me from coming up with my own list of life recommendations.  I hesitate to bring up this list, except it has come to my attention that I have broken — in half — one of my most fundamental rules.

You see, in my most recent blog post, I committed — in bold typeface no less! — a mortal sin.  And though it was a sin so small that no one but me would ever notice or care, it was large enough in my own mind that I feel compelled to apologize right away.

The rule…

Never argue something is “overrated”

I’ve had this rule for a number of years, yet still decided to state firmly and without irony, “Apples are overrated.”

I’m sorry.  I won’t do it again.

Why?

Well, what do we mean when we say something is overrated?

The word itself roughly means “to appraise too highly,” which does not seem too controversial.  Fair enough.  But more often than not, when we say something is “overrated,” we are not using the word in the objective, literal sense — where a too-high tangible amount is ascribed to the object in question — but as a way to dismissively cast judgment without room for negotiation.

I will explain — using a hypothetical!

The Hypothetical: Let’s say you are at a party.  And let’s say that at this party, there is music.  And let’s say that at this party where there is music, a particular song begins to reverberate through the available speakers.  And let’s say that song is “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel.

Your friend (you have a friend in this hypothetical!) turns to you and says,

“You know what, Billy Joel is overrated!”

Why This Is Problematic: In order for something to be “overrated,” going back to the dictionary definition, two things need to be true:

  1. the subject must be appraised; and
  2. the appraisal must be higher than the subject’s real value

Unfortunately, there is no scale that measures the social value of Billy Joel, at least not any particular measurement that you and your friend have agreed upon.  In other words, your friend is saying,

“I think Billy Joel deserves less praise than my perception of the amount of praise bestowed upon him by society.”

In the end, “Billy Joel is overrated” falls under a category that I like to call (starting…now) a silver bullet non-argument because it is based wholly on a comparison between two unknowable variables:

  1. an internal unknowable perception (how your friend believes Billy Joel is valued by society); and
  2. an external unknowable fact (how Billy Joel is actually valued by society).

And as a result, despite the fact that both elements of the “argument” are unknowable, the listener/arguee has no grounds for counter-argument because each of the elements is completely contained within the mind of the speaker/arguer.

The inherent flaws of the claim being made are only exposed when the listener begins to deconstruct either element.  No mater how the listener responds, the arguer has an escape hatch.

Counter-Argument #1
Argument element deconstructed: Internal Unknowable Fact
Counter: “Perhaps you think Billy Joel is more heralded than he is.”
Escape hatch:  “Still, he’s more heralded than I believe he deserves.  Therefore, he is overrated.”

Counter-Argument #2
Argument element deconstucted: External Unknowable Fact
Counter:  “Perhaps Billy Joel is not actually well-liked.”
Escape hatch: “Still, I believe he is liked too much.  Therefore, he is overrated.”

Counter-Argument #3
Argument element deconstructed: Internal/External
Counter: “Perhaps you should check out this website, Faux Outrage, where the credibility of the word ‘overrated’ is put into question.”
Escape hatch: “That website seems to be written by a crazy person.”

Anyway, as it turns out, this argument is actually moot.

Everybody knows that Billy Joel rocks exactly as hard as he is given credit.

Hello, March.  It’s good to see you!

Goodbye, February.  And I don’t mean to offend you, February, but good riddance.

To be honest, February, you frustrate me, and not just because it takes me two or three tries to spell you correctly.  I can even look beyond the unnecessarily cold shoulder you show us on each of your days, or the fact that you are objectively the least interesting month in sports.  I’m not bitter about Valentine’s Day (except for the fact that folks rarely apostrophize [ed. note: actual word!] the holiday), and do not object to your dedication to a better understanding of black history.  I like you, February, but for all of your positive qualities, you will always — at a fundamental level — be one thing to me.

The month when the cost of living in my apartment is about 8% more than normal.

Explanation?  Sure.

(Beware!  Sixth Grade Math lurks!)

Let’s say your rent is $1,000 per month.  (Apparently, you do not live in your own apartment in DC.) This means that you pay $12,000 annually to live in your humble abode.  There are 365 days in a year, so we can determine that it costs you about $32.88 per day to live in your unit.  Also, there are 12 months in a year so we know that there are about 30.42 days in each month.

Depending on the month, your cost per day fluctuates.

January (31 days) / Rent $1,000 / Cost per day: $32.26 / 😀

Average Month (~30.42 days) / Rent $1,000 / Cost per day: $32.88 / 🙂

April (30 days) / Rent $1,000 / Cost per day: $33.33 / 😐

February (28 days) / Rent $1,000 / Cost per day: $35.71 / 😦

This means that it costs you about 9.7% more to live in your apartment in February than it does in January or any of the other months with 31 days (Math alert! [(35.71-32.26)/35.71]*100 = 9.66) and 6.7% more in February than in April or any of the other months with 30 days (More math! [(35.71-33.33)/35.71]*100 = 6.66).

Overall, each day of rent in February costs about 7.9% more than an average day of the year (Still more math! [(35.71-32.88)/35.71*100] = 7.92).

And that sucks.

Ergo, February sucks.

(Even in a leap year.)

Of course, the Heroes of Non-Confrontation among us will sigh and say, “So what, Zach?” And before I am allowed to muster a reply they will abruptly add, “It all evens out in the end, so it’s just a whole lot easier to just have a standard payment every month.  Suck it up.”

Absurd!  I will not ‘suck it up’!

Why?

Because it’s stupid, you see.

It doesn’t make any sense to pay for rent on a “monthly” schedule because “a month” is not a standard unit of time!

Months are social constructs that are perfectly useful when specificity is unimportant (e.g., “We went to Costa Rica a few months ago and here is a boring slideshow of our trip and by the way we’re out of beer and there is a rabid raccoon outside our front door.”) but are a special kind of unhelpful when a specific date is central to the statement being made.

For example: Let’s say you have a gambling problem (“My problem is that I lose!”).  And let’s also say that your bookie has a gambling problem (“My problem is that if I don’t collect debts from my family’s mob-connected gambling operation, the don, who is quite powerful and has been known to murder people — even those close to him like myself — for reasons related to uncollected debts, will not be satisfied and thus I have a strong and vested interest in collecting this particular debt that you owe!”).

One morning, this bookie says to you, “You know that debt you owe me?  Bring me $5,000 in cash to my front door at sunrise exactly one month from now or I will break your kneecaps — and then I will murder you because of the pressures I feel from my family that are best summarized in the television series The Sopranos. My life is much more complicated than you suspect.  Anyway, as I stated earlier, please bring me the money in exactly one month.”

The current date: January 30th, 2012.

What morning do you show up?

(As it turns out, February can even get you killed.)

We treat “month” to mean something very specific when the reality is that “a month” is about as specific as “a few.”  When someone says “a month,” what they are actually conveying is “an amount of time equal to or greater than 28 days but not greater than 31 days and never 29 days except for once every four years.”

Not very helpful.

Because we often value convenience over logic, as a society, we have all decided to agree to ignore this month-as-fluctuating-variable problem when it comes to payment plans (or anything else that is done “every month” on the same day).  “It probably works out in the end” is a weird response to a math problem with an actual answer that impacts millions of people in our society (renters), right?

Furthermore, it should be noted that in the actual universe, it rarely ever “works out” for renters/landlords. Yearly leases often turn to month-to-month leases that are eventually terminated on a month not matching up with the original “ending” month.  Does the rent change on that last month depending on how many days it has?

Of course not.

Sometimes the renter wins the “average cost per day” battle (such as in the case where the lease operates from December 1, 2009 to February 1, 2011), and sometimes the landlord wins (e.g., February 1, 2011 to March 1, 2012), but in each of the situations the one underlying truth is that the scales of justice are arbitrarily (though not randomly!) tipping back and forth.

Goodbye, February.

And good riddance.

Postscript o’ optimism: Your life just got a little bit cheaper!  Your rental cost per day in March is almost 2% less than average!

(Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be about the DMV.  “It’s so slow — and can you believe those lines!  They’re so long!” You don’t say!)

An activity is said to be efficient when it is performed “in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.”  And while it’s hard to know when a process is as seamless and efficient as it can be, it is not usually very difficult to tell when things are wildly out of control.

I used to believe that I was obsessed with finding the most efficient way to accomplish whatever is on my agenda.  Eventually, I realized that I am not obsessed with hyper-efficiency so much as I am completely awestruck and depressed when I am required to engage in an ungodly and unapologetically inefficient activity.

Because this topic is so important to me, I have decided to find the most horrifying example of inefficiency in action in our daily lives.  Think of this article as a public service that results in your being painfully aware when you are at the pinnacle of time and energy-wasting.

In other words, misery loves company.

After a great deal of deliberation and countless hours of internal (and external!) monologue, I am proud to declare once and for all that the least efficient process in the universe is grocery shopping.

(I believe this is where, if this were a live conversation, at least half of you would loudly declare, “But I like grocery shopping, jerk!”  That’s fine!  Really, it is.  I’m not trying to make a value judgment here, only point out that there’s a lot of wasted energy taking place between the fruits and veggies in the front of the store and the dairy section in back.)

So what makes grocery shopping so groce-ly (!) inefficient?

Why, because of the NUTs, of course!

Number of
Unnecessary
Touches

For this discussion to work, let’s first assume the following is true (or true enough for these purposes): In an ideal world, the first time we touch a useful object should also be the last time the object remains unused.  At least at the consumer level, this is the most efficient way of operating.

(BEWARE: FIRST GRADE MATH AHEAD!)

We can calculate the number of unnecessary touches (“NUT”) by adding up the total number of touches and subtracting the last touch (which is the necessary touch, when the item is engaged for its intended purpose).

A classic example of a zero NUT (“no waste ideal”) situation takes place when you purchase a hotdog from a vendor at a baseball stadium.  The transaction is simple: you hand the vendor 300 dollars in cash (inflation!) and they hand you one of the worst hotdogs you have ever eaten (in under five seconds).

Only one touch, one necessary touch.  This means that there are zero unnecessary touches: 1 total touches minus 1 necessary touch equals zero NUT!

See?

Now let’s consider the example of a soup can at a grocery store.  How many times is the can handled before the last, necessary touch (when the soup is opened/consumed)?

Let’s follow journey of a can purchased by an average supermarket shopper:

Touch 1: Pick up can of soup in SOUP AND BAKING GOODS aisle.
Touch 2: Put can of soup in shopping cart.
Touch 3: Put can of soup on conveyor belt for cashier to scan.
Touch 4:
Put can of soup in shopping bag.
Touch 5
: Put can of soup back in shopping cart (bagged).
Touch 6: Place can of soup (bagged) in trunk of car.
Touch 7: Take can of soup (bagged) from trunk of car and place on kitchen counter.
Touch 8: Take can of soup out of bag and place directly on kitchen counter.
Touch 9: Put can of soup in appropriate kitchen storage location.
Touch 10: ACTUALLY USE CAN OF SOUP FOR ORIGINAL INTENDED PURPOSE

This means that the average consumer must handle the can of soup a full ten times before actually enjoying any soup-y goodness.  In this case, NUT = 9 (10 total touches minus 1 necessary touch).

One can of soup provides some insight into this inefficiency problem, but now let’s multiply the NUT by the number of items purchased on a given shopping expedition.

On my last “trip” (aren’t trips supposed to be fun?) to the grocery store, I bought about 30 items. Thirty items times nine (the NUT coefficient) equals two hundred and seventy actions over and above ideal efficiency.  That means the total NUT for my trip will be 270, a number signifying a high degree of inefficiency.

How do we know 270 denotes a “high degree of inefficiency”?  Simple.  Imagine your mother calls you up on the phone and asks you to do 270 pointless things.  That seems like a lot, doesn’t it?

Of course, any time you are purchasing goods that you are not immediately consuming, you are going to find yourself with a NUT higher than zero (and thus, not engaged in idealized efficient behavior).  But the grocery store provides a unique opportunity to participate in a spectacularly inefficient process dozens of times in the same location!

And that is why grocery shopping is the least efficient process in the universe.

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