# Re: Percent

Mathematics and Language don’t initially seem to go together. My random anecdotal idea regarding the word Percent is that people use it often in an attempt to win an argument. Folks are best off not using math terms if they have little number sense, like me. I refuse to get into a debate with anyone who uses percent as part of their language, not because I don’t choose to believe them but because I’m going to get lost in the numbers. I’ll ask for a print out. With a hard copy in hand I’ll be able to source their point of view in a calm manner before endorsing or denying their position.

Really, I’m more comfortable visualizing a scale of one to ten. There are fewer numbers. Everyone loves it when a friend tells them that they are ‘there for you 150%’ but no one really believes it. You can’t carry around more than the whole 100% of yourself. Percentages can be manipulated just like any other statistic. I understand the math of 100%. That’s a whole thing right there. I am a complete entity, but I have 100% of me to work with as a starting point. Take off, say 10% for poor hearing. If it’s a Monday, deduct another 5%. During the winter, after sundown, my sense of self is reduced by a further 15%. Here you go; 70%. There. That’s all you get. Sorry.

Netflix advised me that I could watch a certain film feature because it was a 95% match to my viewing history. That’s good to know. I enjoy a healthy interest rate on my investments but the interest on my mortgage is worrisome. Because I’m not a smoker I have a lower chance of getting lung cancer. But because I’m lazy my percentile risk of heart disease is as much as 5 times more than an Olympic athlete. I don’t buy lottery tickets so I have 0% chance of winning. I can live with that.

I think it’s cool that percent is used in the dairy aisle in my grocery store. I don’t have to squint to read the nutrition stats. I don’t have to calculate the portion size from the package volume. I don’t have to do any math when I shop for milk: I just use the label that’s handily provided on the package. If I’m thinking heart healthy I’ll go low, say 2%. If I want to feel a bit of luxury for tea time I’ll go 10%. When I’m looking to feel Royal I’ll choose 18% to pour on my sliced bananas. If I’m going the full Herb Alpert then it’s 35% baby!

Relationships often fail because one partner decides that the significant other isn’t doing their share. A 50/50 arrangement is often discussed as the goal but that could be ambitious when one of you is in the dumps (review second paragraph). My partner loans me some of her percentage when my reserves aren’t very rich. I try to reciprocate. 100% can be neared when two share that goal.