2009-04-24 / Letters

Follow The Leader?

Dear Editor,

President Obama recently finished his overseas victory tour. They loved him in London, fawned over him in France, went gaga over him in Germany and idolized him in Iraq. In Turkey, his audience was transfixed. After all, many fences had to be mended from the prior administration and our newly elected President took gigantic strides toward regaining our good standing in the world. Each time our President spoke, he was greeted with tumultuous applause, his eloquence especially electrifying Europeans of college age. Only one thing could possibly cement our new romance with Europe: Imagine, if you will, Statesmen Sarcozy, Brown, Berlusconi, Merkel supposedly saying in chorus, if you truly want to prove you love us you will have to take this one giant step. Then, you will have passed your initiation and we will welcome you into our club.

Well, Obama must have agonized, thinking it would be quite a coup to be a member in good standing of the European Club especially with how poorly America had been received during the last administration. Before I accept their invitation, I should find out what is expected of me.

At their next meeting, Sarcozy and the rest revealed what Obama would have to promise in order to gain acceptance: He would have to convert our numerical system to their metric system. Obama pondered the oft proposed never taken seriously give to get. Imagine how this would play in America: "On the second of June we will not only be changing television from analog to digital, we will also be converting to the Metric System. Or, the following program is being brought to you by the Federal Government who reminds you to join the new Army and to think metric. The following is a tutorial explaining how simple the conversion will be:

If 1 inch = 2.54 centimeters, then a 9"x12" picture frame easily converts to 22.86x30.48 centimeters (or merely point and say, "that one.")

If 1 ounce=28.35 grams, then imagine asking the deli counterman for .45359237 kilograms of ham (a pound) and .02267961 kilos of cheese (half a pound). Simple, isn't it!?

Just think how warmly manufacturers would welcome the news of our switch to the metric system. The transformation would give food companies another opportunity to confuse consumers adding metric slight of hand to creative weight adjustment, baffling us with the weight contents conspicuous on the new labeling. And so, with our change to the metric system, manufacturers can depend upon our country's low annual math score for again giving us less for more. In grams the numbers seem like a lot more but somehow the container feels lighter. Bring on the metric lobby and Ronco, maker of the credit card size, weights and measures converter.

As Obama contemplates a leap to the metric system he cannot help but wonder if his country (America) and its citizens (mostly Americans) would think radical changes in everyday calculations were worth our acceptance in the European community. Mon dieu! The next thing you know they would want us to convert to Euros. Dio mio! This global economy is a whole lot more than hands across the sea. Mi mal di testa!

President Obama, in a fit of insecurity, addresses both houses of Congress to confess he is between Barak and a hard place to replace our 2009- year-old numerical system. However, he would love to be on good terms with Europe. Finding no help in Congress (no surprise here), our President scheduled locations for a series of town hall meetings to sense the will of the people.

In deference to Michelle, the President scheduled his first town hall meeting at an elementary school in Washington, D.C. He addressed the students: "This is my dilemma. To curry favor, er, not the curry that's the spice. To curry favor means to make friends." He pursued his line of thought. "To make friends with all of Europe, would you be willing to give up our number system and adopt the one used in Europe?" One child wanted to know how difficult the change would be. Another child wanted to know how old he would be in Europe while another asked how tall he would be across the pond. "I really don't know but, let us learn together." The President extended his hand in camaraderie.

One child, attentive yet shy, raised his hand hesitatingly and was called upon by the President. "I would switch to Metrics," he offered. "I guess I could even get used to the Euro instead of the dollar," he conceded. "But, before we do either, don't you think we should make English our official language?"

The President cancelled the remainder of his town hall meetings.

JOAN METTLER

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