July 13, 2012
For whatever reason this Friday the 13th has been a day distinguished by surprising—and at times scary—numbers making their way across my viewscape.
But the most stunning was not word from the Monterey County Fairgrounds leadership that this year's summer installment of carnival rides, concerts and games at the fair—named “Very Berry Extraordinary” in honor of the county's robust strawberry industry (there's another number there: it's worth $713 million a year) will also include the creation of a 12,000-pound cake, which will be in the running for the world's largest…of…all…time.
The most striking number was not Consumer Reports sharing the fact that a clean 72 percent of Americans hang toilet paper with the first sheet going over the roll (28 percent prefer to hang the first sheet under the roll). Or that those who are known as TP "folders and stackers" number 40 percent, wadders also 40 and wrappers 20, or that women are more apt to be grabbers and wadders, while men tend to be folders or, finally—wait for it—Americans listed toilet paper as their number one necessity if stranded on a deserted island. I woulda gone for bacon or hot sauce.
Nor was the most striking number $10.95, as in the bargain cost for all-you-can-eat Fish 'n' Chips and salad bar at City Diner (394-3697) in Seaside, part of a slate of nightly deals that includes Asian Wednesdays, Southern Thursdays and BBQ Saturdays, all for $10.95 too.
The number is not 112, as in the number of characters in the above headline, which almost killed my web coordinator on contact.
The most arresting number was five—as in the number of flavors of Diet Coke the futuristic soda machine at the new Burger King in Seaside, including vanilla-cherry. That's just Diet Coke. There's four style of Mello Yello—including orange, which I punched in on the touch screen just to see if ordering an orange Yello would open up a wormhole, kinda like dividing by zero.
But even a wormhole—or Friday the 13th's machete-swinging Jason Vorhees—is far less terrifying than slick weapons in obesity like these. Fast food already has an ungodly grip on our population. Hopefully the inevitable lines—there's only one dispenser, and the overwhelming flood of 100-plus choices all told doesn't exactly speed up the selection process—will rescue us from a certain diabetes doomsday.