Educators and the elites are always clamoring that Americans need to be bi-lingual. Most high schools and universities have a foreign language requirement. Who among us has not been confused by the conjugation of verbs and still remembers the little French dity about three cats out on a lake, "un, deux trois quatre cinq". Or how to say "Where is Jose?" in Spanish.
Yet just this morning I read an article in Scientific American telling me my unique bi-lingualness when it comes to measurements makes me an ignorant fool. The only real argument the author makes as to why we should adopt the metric system is the old "everyone else uses it". Didn't your Mom ever explain that being a lemming is unacceptable, Mr. Wogan?
Look, anyone involved in science or manufacturing or who has contacts in international business already uses the metric system. I know the magic '2.54' formula by heart. If you read an assembly drawing or manufacturing specifications I bet you do too. But if you do not need to use a metric measurement, then who cares if you
use a quart when estimating the quantity of blueberries or your own
personal unit of measure such as "half of that old coffee can"? Most of us do not have an exact knowledge of how many tomatoes are in a peck, but we can agree that that little basket of yellow ones and red ones is what I want to buy. I'll be damned if I know exactly what volume makes up a bushel of apples, but I know it is what fits in that basket under the workbench.
I have metric wrenches and sockets in my tool box. You might argue it is silly to have two sets of everything. I don't mind. So what if in my brain water boils at 212 and freezes at 32? I know zero is really cold and 100 is really hot weather and that means far more to me than 40 Celsius. I know a pint's a pound, and every damn recipe my grandma and mom perfected over the years works in ounces and cups will not convert perfectly in grams and centiliters.
I know how much gas is a gallon. I may have to buy my Coke in a 2 liter bottle, but I also know when I go to Florida and the grocery is pawning off three liters of milk as opposed to a gallon for a similar price I am getting cheated. Buying gas in Canada may sound cheap at 1.89/ liter, but when that converts to more than seven bucks a gallon the price is pretty damn high.
The metric system is taught in our schools, at least in backwards Indiana. Those of us who need to use the SI (metric system) can and do. Frankly, I do not really care if someone in Europe can make sense of an inch or a pint. I can converse with them in their language of measurement when I need to. Isn't that enough?
As a personal aside, if one of my friends insisted on conversing with me only in Celsius and liters and meters, I would consider him a total dickwad, a typical liberal snob, and an all around pompous ass. The author comes across as an elitist, the sort who only buys carrots fertilized in the shit from wild coyotes and tofu processed with the sterilized piss of rare albino squirrels. I suspect he drives his Prius 30 miles round trip to buy only free range pesticide free organic corn for $6.00 an ear. I have no doubt the author is chagrined and angry that the farmer won't take his Euro in place of the good old US dollar. After all, the Euro is the currency of Europe, a billion people use the Chinese Yuan, why should we use something different in America?