This morning, I have two minor problems in my life. The first is that my daughter is failing algebra. Sadly, like so many others, she does not believe she will ever use it in real life. The second is my husband’s latest purchase. I am totally confident that I can help my daughter – certainly, I can demonstrate some real life algebraic concepts. However, in the case of problem number two, I’m waiting it out.
I know it’s old-hat to compare the shopping habits of women to those of men, but, for only a sentence or two, I must. Unlike the logic of a woman, where we buy things at a reduced price and claim the imaginary difference as money saved, men purchase items based on pretense. They rationalize their buying decisions on a whole different level of distortion. Typically, this presents as a three-part recipe; combining two elements of practicality and one element of contingency. This is how we end up with things like wood chippers, blow torches, and rusted out fixer-uppers in our garages.
Last week my husband bought a juicing machine on the pretense that it was both healthy and economical, adding that, in the event it didn’t work out, he could always part it out for my son’s science project. I wasn’t big on the juicer idea and immediately voided the “healthy” part of the claim —as long as he had teeth in his head he wouldn’t need to juice a carrot to consume it. However, the economic aspect was a bit more difficult to debate since his intention was to put any aged or soggy vegetables to good use rather than discard them. Gross for sure, but how could I have reasonably evaluated such a benefit prior to implementation? Besides, his contingency plan was the work of pure genius.
Now, what comes out of my husband’s juicing contraption is one of the most disgusting substances I have ever seen. While he calls it a vegetable smoothie, I call it a fiber-rich death-sludgy. The origin of which comes from the fact that, as of late, I simply don’t see him very often, which is further supported by the resulting lack of toilet paper in the house.
Every evening he prepares his batch of vegetable ooze for the following day and stores it on the top shelf of our refrigerator —right next to my coffee creamer, giving me no choice but to contend with it. As I reached for my creamer this morning, half asleep and ill prepared for reality, I was mentally hijacked by his death-sludgy du jour. It was golden brown with suspended pockets of air and topped with meringue-like foam. I suspect that it had significant cohesive properties, but I wasn’t going to touch it to find out. Rather, keeping a safe distance, I compiled a series of assessments. The first such assessment was my husband’s undeniable thrift. He had placed his concoction in a salvaged spaghetti jar and, in an apparent attempt to seal in its freshness, but unable to locate the lid, had covered it with a ragged piece of reused Saran Wrap and a rubber band. I sleepily blinked a few times and arrived at my second assessment; he’s gone off the deep-end and I fully believe that he plans to take me with him. Considering our toilet paper crisis, I sought out relativity. I opened the crisping drawer and arrived at my third assessment. We were out of produce —fresh or otherwise.
It’s too bad my daughter doesn’t need help in science because I believe my observations support Newton’s 3rd law of motion; every action does in fact have an equal and opposite reaction.
“Whenever a first body exerts a force on a second body, the second body exerts a force on the first body. Each force is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.”
By nature I am an analyst —I just can’t help myself. I’m closing in on his second element of practicality and therefore compelled to do the math. Considering my daughter’s lack of appreciation for algebra, I have decided to demonstrate one of those real life algebraic concepts.
I will begin with one simple question:
Given the fact that the recommended daily allowance of fiber for an adult is 25 grams, is it true that daddy’s new juicer is actually economical?
Now, the trick to algebra is to simplify your little butt off. Simplify till you just can’t simplify no-mo. So, we need to break it all down. Let’s start with the following chart. It’s a grossly conservative example of just ONE of his twice daily death-sludgies:
|Units||Grams of Fiber per unit||Qty in Death-Sludgy||Grams of Fiber in Death Sludgy|
|Total Grams per Death-Sludgy:||58.8|
Twice daily … multiply by 2 … 117.6 grams… again, I never see him anymore … the ratio is practically 5:1. (something similar to digesting a Brillo Pad)
Next, we need to establish the hard costs, also known as the cost of goods
c is a carrot and a carrot costs ten cents
l is cup of celery and a cup of celery costs ten cents
b is a cup of broccoli and a cup of broccoli costs ten cents
s is a cup of squash and a cup of squash costs twenty cents
a is an apple and an apple costs thirty cents
He drinks 2 death-sludgies per day
The formula looks like this (Teachers like it when you show your work):
2(4c + 3l + 2b + 2s + 2a) = COG
2[(4 * .10) + (3 * .10) + (2 * .10) + (2 * .20) + (2 *.30)] = COG
2(.40 + .30 + .20 + .40 +.60) = COG
2($1.90) = COG
$3.80 = COG
So far, we’ve only looked at the amount of fiber and the costs of raw materials. There are also soft costs that need to be considered.
Each flush of a standard toilet uses 1.6 gallons of water.
w is a gallon of water and costs .005
Then, the cost per flush is 1.6w= .008
It is speculated that a person typically uses *seven sheets of toilet paper per process. A roll of durable tissue has 308 sheets per roll and costs $6.99 for a 12 roll pack.
*results may vary based on actual product and/or mental disposition.
p is the cost of a package of toilet paper
r is sheets per roll
t is the cost of the seven sheet single process
The formula looks like this:
t = 7[(p/12)/r]
t = 7($6.99/12)/308
t = 7($.58)/308
(rounding to the nearest thousandth)
t = $.002
Where S is poop (I’m keeping it clean – we all know what S is)
It can be stated that
S = t+ w
S = .002 + .008
S = .01
With that said, and since we are only looking for the increase in costs, at the ratio of 5:1, naturally we can expect daddy to poop four times more than normal.
4S = 4(t + w)
4S = 4(.002 + .008)
4S = 4(.01)
We are finally at the economic feasibility of his proposal and will now tally up the total tangible cost of the death-sludgy.
The overall formula looks like this:
COG + 4S = [2(4c + 3l + 2b + 2s + 2a)] + 4(t + w)
3.80 +.04 = [2(4 *.10 + 3*.10 + 2 *.10 + 2 * .20 + 2 * .30)] + 4(.002 + .008)
3.84 = [2(1.90)] + 4(.01)
3.84 = 3.80+ .04
3.84 = 3.84
We have simplified ourselves straight to the answer. At $3.84 per day, daddy’s second element of practicality has been proven entirely false. Now my daughter can go to her algebra class with her chin held high, knowing that there is, in fact, a real life need for algebra.
Okay. I admit $3.84 is pretty cheap. However, it’s still on the plus side and I do anticipate the overall cost to increase rapidly. Any day now, I fully expect my husband to push out something that resembles shredded wheat which, at the very least, will result in a $20 co-pay.
On the bright side, once he recovers, we will be able to start my son’s science project post haste.