Anyone who reads this blog regularly, both of you, knows very well how much I love math and numbers. I have used my command of numbers on these pages to prove liberals wrong on a whole range of topics, from healthcare to gun control to unemployment. Each of these posts was weighty and important to our national interests. Yet, none of them or even all of them together carries nearly the import of today’s quantitative missive, which will cover the mathematics of a far more important topic: Bacon.
In fact, if there’s anything on earth I love more than proving liberals wrong, it’s bacon.
Seriously, name one other food about which you can say the following: everything is better with bacon on it. Everything. Bacon and eggs, bacon on a salad, bacon on a burger, scallops wrapped in bacon, apricots wrapped in bacon. I could literally fill pages and pages with examples of food that gets better with bacon. Furthermore, I can’t think of a single food that enjoys as much unanimity as bacon with respect to people’s love for it. And, before you introduce any religious component to this discussion, let me be clear that some of my most avid bacon-loving friends are Jewish.
So, it is against this backdrop that you can imagine how utterly freaked out I was when my buddy, Marc, posted the picture below to his Facebook page.
My initial reaction was, as perhaps yours is, to think, “Oh my God. I have to choose between bacon and immediate death.” The decision, of course, was not a difficult one, though I did quickly heave a sigh of relief when I recalled that I had just re-upped my life insurance policy a few years back. But, then I decided to make some calculations on Marc’s post. Losing 9 minutes off my life to every single slice of bacon initially sounded horribly ominous. Seriously, consider the dire implications here.
- Eat a BLT – there goes about 18 minutes off your life. One entire quarter of football you won’t watch for having chowed that BLT.
- When our round of golf was shortened after nine holes by rain on Saturday, we went into the clubhouse for breakfast. I had fried eggs with 4 slices of bacon. BOOM – 36 minutes gone, never to be recovered. That’s one entire Seinfeld re-run I will not get the chance to watch. What if it would have been the Close Talker episode? I love that one, but I won’t get to see it, thanks to bacon.
- When I’m on vacation in Maine in August, I get a bacon and egg sandwich nearly every day for breakfast. It’s kind of my vacation ritual. Assuming 2 slices per sandwich, multiplied by 21 days of vacation, I lose 6.3 hours of life every summer (42 slices * 9 minutes per slice = 378 minutes; 378 minutes is 6.3 hours). SIX HOURS! That’s an entire picnic boat trip to an island in Maine I won’t get to take. OH. MY. GOD.
I walked into the kitchen, opened the bacon drawer in the fridge, and was just about to throw away this food, which Marc had enlightened me to be far more dangerous than cigarette smoking or bungee jumping. But, before I took this drastic step, I decided to take out my HP 12C for some final calculations. Bear with me.
First I decided to calculate how much of my life I would give up, on an annual basis, if, say, I decided to eat 4 slices of bacon every day. As much as I love bacon, I think 4 slices per day, every day, is an aggressive assumption. But, hey, I was looking for the worst case scenario.
(9 min lost/slice) * (4 slices/day) *(365 days/year) = 13,140 minutes lost to bacon per year
Again, another HOLY CRAP moment. At 4 slices/day, I’m going to lose 13,140 minutes each year, every year, for the rest of my life. Since most brains don’t process minutes with such big numbers, let’s translate that to days.
(13,140 min)*(1 hr/60 min) *(1 day/24 hours) = 9.1 days
Whoa, really? I’m giving up 9.1 days per year, every year that I eat bacon at my presumptively torrid pace of 4 slices per day. Quick, somebody call my cardiologist. Never mind. Call the funeral home and make a reservation.
But, before I succumbed to total panic, I made one final calculation. I am 51 years old. What’s a reasonable age for me to expect to live to? The actuarial tables say my life expectancy is about 77. Other than my bacon fetish, I lead a pretty darn healthy life so, if I gave up bacon altogether, there’s no reason I shouldn’t get another solid 40 years and live to 91. I’m not much interested in what happens between 91 and 100 anyway as it seems likely that I’m doing a lot more drooling and playing a lot less golf, so who needs it.
OK, I promise, just one more calculation. If I could live to 91 without bacon, what happens if I eat my 4 slices per day? Well, above we calculated that 4 slices of bacon per day knocks about 9.1 days off your life each year. So, if my bacon-free existence is 40 years, I will lose 40 times 9.1 or just about 365 days to bacon consumption over the next 40 years. That’s one full year I will lose to gorging on bacon.
Wait, time out. So, you’re saying I can live 40 more years without so much as a nibble of bacon or 39 years eating 4 slices of bacon per day? I can live to 91 in a bacon-free cocoon or live to 90 eating a full complement of bacon every single day? Really??? That’s the trade off? When you put it that way, it’s actually very exciting. Who wouldn’t take a full bacon-filled 90 year life over the sad dismal 91 year existence of the bacon abstentionist.
Thank God for math. And, please pass the bacon.