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Happiness by the numbers.

Judging from human behavior, numbers dictate our happiness.

I don’t think that aids to grammar and style make me a “better” writer. I don’t think that aids to grammar and style have any appreciable effect on that particular adjective.

Aids to grammar and style might make me a “stronger” writer. But only if I know what I mean by the two words.

See, to me, stronger writing is clearer and more concise and easier to read.

But better writing is spirited.

I’m not sure how to explain what I mean by spirited. Although, I think we need to figure out for ourselves what something like that means. What is the difference between accurate writing and truly good writing? I’m not sure. You can be both accurate and good. And you can be good and not accurate. And you can be bad and as accurate as a mother’s insults. So they’re not the same.

All the perfect clarity of the world hath not the soul of poesy in it, as a poet may or may not have said.

Anyway, the below has been “optimized” by the Hemingway app from a 12th grade reading level to a 3rd grade one. I also ran it through Grammarly, although Grammarly had no good advice on this one. Not Grammarly’s fault, to be fair. I just use words in weird ways sometimes.

Whatever set of numbers we choose to tell us how happy we are, we spend all our time trying to make that number go up or go down. BMI goes up, but view count goes down, and we’re happy. Bank balance on the rise, good, but restraining orders are dropping so we get a little moody. Whatever your number, movements in that number change your mood. Whatever total you tally to tell you when you’re “happy” contribute to an eternal cycle.

Joke’s on us. Numbers are an illusion. There’s no such “thing” as numbers. Numbers are theoretical constructs. They’re designed by rule-addicted people to enslave concepts that would otherwise be interesting. Interesting? A poor word! They’d be sexy! You know those times you found yourself drooling over of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s voice? Hmm? Remember that? Or that time you creamed your shorts when Karl Sagan explained something? Something that you still didn’t understand but you felt larger in spite of not understanding? You know how that feels?

Yeah. That’s what “numbers” would do to you. If, that is, we hadn’t allowed conflict-averse and socially inept people to decide how we would “count.”

I mean, have you ever gotten a mathematician drunk and taken them to bed? There is nothing more sultry than a deep-voiced mathematician. Not when he’s slurring his way through an explanation of the Poincare Conjecture. He’s too shit-faced to remember what comes after six, sure. But that doesn’t matter. I’d still let him lie tangent to my curves, if you know what I mean.

Numbers are imaginary. Do you think base ten is universal? It’s not. Some cultures count in base twenty-seven. The one I’m thinking of hasn’t got a written language. It would confuse them to hear that we haven’t got a sensible way of writing “twenty-seventyeleven.”

Some cultures count in base two. We call them Nerds. They may smell a little funny. They may be incapable of grasping the concept of standing and drinking in a room. But they’re still human. And if they ever came to primacy in our culture, we may see a much different design for clock faces. That’s all I’ll say about that.

This whole counting to ten thing is an advertising gimmick. Nothing more. Even though most of the modern world agrees with it does not make it the best way to do math. Math is about transcendental concepts. There’s no reason they should begin with counting. What is counting? Lining things up. That’s what. And when you’ve done that, making groups. The groups could have been any size. But you learned about them by sticking olives on your fingers when you were a child. So they’re that size

Sticking slightly-pickled vegetables on appendages was the origin of counting in western culture. Or it seemed to be. I don’t know why we didn’t end up in base twenty-one. That would make much more sense. Since western culture has been male dominated for so long.

That’s sort of a male-chauvinist joke. Sorry about that.

No. The fact of the matter is that numbers do not dictate our happiness.

The culprit requires a finer distinction.

We aren’t all worked up about numbers. Numbers are imaginary. Or, at least, they’re conceptual. You can’t touch numbers.

No. I prefer to direct my ire at the real culprit . There’s a real focus of my happiness that’s always there, changing, and telling me my self-worth. Explaining it to me, in unarguable columns.

The real thing effecting my happiness: Numerals.

Okay, that’s sort of a shit punch line. I recognize that.

It’s a joke of fine distinction, you see. Numbers are the theoretical building blocks of mathematics, you see. They’re the platonic form of a thing that’s describable but not tangible.

And numerals are the names we give to numbers. That’s the difference.

So it’s funny, you see? We’re more often caused worry because of the numerals that surround us, because we see the numerals. We don’t see the numbers. And you know how you’re always more agitated about your bank balance when you can see it? See? It’s the numerals that worry you. The numbers are fine. The numbers are theoretical. If you’re shit at math — like I am — then numbers aren’t frightening. They can be anything you want them to be. They only matter when you…write them…down.

I don’t think I’m convincing anyone that this is funny.

I will go now.

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Oliver “Shiny” Blakemore

Oliver “Shiny” Blakemore

The best part of being a mime is never having to say I’m sorry.