Life, in Coordinate Planes

with gratitude to Dan Meyer and apologies to Randall Munroe

NOTE: These are 100% subjective and 110% definitive.

grid 1

Historians will look back at this period and ask, “What mass lunacy gripped these people, that so many of them sought pleasure in running long distances?” Their books will have titles like “The 21st-Century Illness: How Marathons Brought Civilization on the Brink” and “26-Mile Masochism: Had They Not Heard of Cars and Bicycles?” and “Running in Giant Meaningless Circles: You Were Right All Along, Ben.” Then they will go play dodgeball, because the future is a better place.

grid 2

Were I a better man, I would be emptying my upper-right quadrant as fast as I can, while never thinking to touch the bottom-left. But I am not a better man. I am a man whose phone has a Twitter app but no “critically acclaimed fiction” app. I am a sorry man, a broken man, a man who epitomizes his times. But judge me not, lest ye be tweeted about.

grid 4

My colleague Richard will think less of me for ranking the Central Limit Theorem as sub-average for beauty, but this graph was going to look pretty biased if I stacked everything in the top two quadrants. My motto: The credible blogger must occasionally dis.

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Yes, I’m indifferent between giving forgiveness and giving noogies, which creates occasional madcap mix-ups where I respond to an apology by grinding my knuckles into the apologizer’s hair. Also, love is great, but it is strictly dominated by high-fives, a fact that is evident if you replace the word “love” in any Beatles song title with the word “high-five.” (Try it. “She High-Fives You.” “And I High-Five Her.” “High-Five Me Do.” “All My High-Fivin’.” You kinda high-five it, right?)

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I’m not saying we have a bad national anthem. I’m just saying Itsy Bitsy Spider would be easier to sing, while no worse to hear. Imagine if, before every sporting event, a singer grabbed the microphone and hummed the Star Wars Theme. Or, better yet, what if the whole crowd joined in singing the theme song to Arthur? Picture the swell of patriotism as we say, “Hey! What a wonderful time of day.”

grid 3

I’m willing to take my lumps here. Geckos are wildly underrated. Guinea pigs are just fat rats that provoke less anxiety. Fish are like wetter and marginally cuter rocks. Monkeys are strictly better than dolphins. And turtles are almost as good as cats. That’s right; come at me, internet.

22 thoughts on “Life, in Coordinate Planes

  1. ….. I like ball pythons. They are short and have chubby cheeks and get their names because their defense is to curl up into a ball and whisper to themselves, “the scary can’t see me. i is invisible in my ball.”

  2. Mini-golf is fun to watch. Seeing what crazy things other people’s balls are up to is just about as much fun as seeing what your own ball does.

  3. Just a heads up: fish are way less manageable than you are claiming. Of all the pets I live with (admittedly I do not live with a monkey, a dolphin or, thank goodness, a child), the fish are the most work. Performing regular water changes on a 300L tank is a pain.

  4. In the Beautiful/Useful one, you forgot to put “all of matrix algebra” in the extreme lower right.

  5. I’m gonna have to disagree with you about ice hockey. That belongs in the extreme top right corner. Very fun to watch; very fun to play.

  6. My cat is way more unmanageable than my dogs! He has “Bad cat” written on his folder at the vet. In red. With three exclamation points.

    Also, no matter how beautifully written, books with depressing characters go in the lower left corner. Ugh.

  7. I laughed out loud at the last paragraph because my son has pet rats… it was the guinea pig description that got me. Hmmmm, now I want to graph medical disorders as a rural family doc… let’s see: x axis is fear to joy and y axis is hard to diagnose or treat up to easy…. ok, I need a third axis to separate diagnose and treat…..

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