Friday, June 6, 2014

the gnat's ass

There is no gnat's-ass answer to the question, "How many miles of coast does the United States have?" but like most questions, it wants answer, gnat's ass or otherwise.

Not that anyone cares much, perhaps, but the question crossed my mind yesterday and so I tried to look it up. When you think about tides and other factors, you can see why there are only ballpark answers (general coastline, 12,383 miles; tidal coastline 88,633).

Strange to think that when it comes to something like coast lines, a "true-ish" answer is acceptable but where other answers are sought, the gnat's ass persists... the one-and-only, enduring, no-bones-about-it "truth."

In the mathematical system most commonly employed, 2+2=4. And there is no question that when anyone puts two rocks by another two rocks, the conglomerate is four rocks... assuming anyone uses the most-commonly-employed mathematical system.


Is there a question with a gnat's-ass response?

I doubt it.

"True-ish" seems to be our lot and the gnat's ass is just the gnat's ass.

1 comment:

  1. My teacher responded to an email today. It challenges me to understand something that frustrates my brain, to be answered by sitting experience probably. Do gnats sit on their asses?