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Maree’s musings VITAL STATISTICS

October 14, 2019 October 2019 No Comments

  How often do you hear people say ‘I’m just average’, I wonder? Us New Zealanders are masters at dumbing down our abilities or peculiarities in the hope of fitting in; it can be uncomfortable being eccentric – something I’m an expert at at times.

We have maths whizzes who are paid well to provide us with statistics on all sorts of stuff. I’ve just found out, for example, that the average Kiwi (human variety) eats 28 pies a year. Now I’m partial to a pie once in a while, and might consume five or six over the course of a year. This means that someone else is gobbling 40 or more. One a week – probably not as scarey as a daily scoff although there will be a few at the far end of the graph who can’t resist. Taken over the whole population, that amounts to about 112million down the human hatches. That’s a lot. 

Completely unrelated: at last count (!! who does this, I wonder) there were approximately 52 Lego bricks for every human in the world. There’s probably some of you out there who are collectors so will make up for me with none at all, not even a frog made of some.

At school I enjoyed maths; and still remember doing statistics graphs – they come out looking like an upturned bowl with a rim; so are called ‘bell curves’. This sometimes involved ‘field work’ (another term for skiving out of class or at least getting away from your desk). All good fun. You could line up all your classmates, weigh them and measure their heights which took a whole period, so it was the next day before you did the graphs.      One of my colleagues was nicknamed ‘Shortie’ so you can guess where he came on the bell curve. Most of us were ‘average’ of course. Another time we went out to the main road and counted vehicles going past. You could sort them into types, colours or maybe do an estimate of speed if you had a hankering to be a traffic cop once you left school. We became mines of useless information, but doing the maths was valuable I’m sure.

When you think about it, we are all somewhere on all sorts of bell curves. You might be tall and thin, shy or the life and soul of any party. Perhaps skilled at rustling up a batch of scones or prefer to buy a pie (see above). These days, fortunately, it’s OK to be gay. These are just a tiny sample of data we can make into those bell curves which provide you with the ‘average’ but just as importantly, has an end at each end. And I reckon there’s some hope for the human race when we celebrate our differences and accept there’s no normal.

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