Thursday, February 26, 2009

I'm Sorry, There WILL Be Math

I am fed up. I have had enough. Uncle, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. You win.

Have you ever taken a look at the account numbers for your various monthly bills? Because I still live in 1886 and use a checkbook, I am required to write the account number for each of my bills on the "note" line of my checks. And I am convinced that the utility companies are playing a practical joke in which they try to see how small they can make me write to fit my account number on the line. Allow me to show you my actual LADWP account number (not my actual LADWP account number):

3-78-76493-04390-00-0218-9-01

That, gentle reader, is TWENTY-TWO digits. What sort of twisted accounting system could possibly require an account number of that length? It's simply unacceptable. Do you know how big a number 22 digits is? I do:

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 = 1021 = 1 sextillion

That's right. SEXTILLION. And before you degenerates even make the joke, no, a "sextillion" is not a tenth-grade school sponsored orgy. So to be clear, a 22-digit account number allows for TEN SEXTILLION customers. Now, the freeways are clogged here. I get it. But there will never be 10 sextillion households in Los Angeles. Not even if the entire country of Mexico moves into my building.

According to the most generous estimate available, there are 10 million residents in Los Angeles County. Do you know how many times 10 million goes into 10 sextillion? I do. ONE HUNDRED BILLION. Essentially, LADWP has created an account number system that can accommodate 100 billion separate accounts for every resident of the county. I know people have lots of sex here, but even David Spade and Charlie Sheen have to run out of sperm at some point.

Let's break it down. To accommodate 10 million customers, LADWP need only have an account number with eight digits. EIGHT.

22 > 8

Additionally, that 10 million is counting people who don't normally pay the electric bill, like kids and homeless people and me, so you should be good for a long time, LADWP. And eight digits fits on my check a damn sight better.



19 metawords:

BeckEye said...

You lost me at the post title, dude. Math and I are not friends.

words words words said...

It's too bad. Math is really fond of you. Maybe if you paid attention you'd see. Michael Johns was a math major, too.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

I like your definition of "sextillion" better.

Also, I like it whenever scientific notation is used in a blog post.

Morgan the Muse said...

22 digits? wow. I seriously giggled when I read this. I guess I am too easily entertained.

Morgan the Muse said...

Oh, and thanks for telling me that 22 is larger than 8 I was getting worried there for a second.

words words words said...

mjenks: I have always wanted to put scientific notation in a post, but I've never had the chance until now. It was either this or a post about how many women have asked me to put my pants back on.

Morgan: So, let me get this straight...you're surprised that I made you laugh, and concluded from this that you're too easily entertained? I think I may cry.

Gwen said...

Bobby Raines felt me up in the coat check at my first sextillion.

red said...

Dude, I so hear you on this. Because I am grandma, and pay bills with checks, too, I get so annoyed writing the damned zillion number long account number. When I rule the world, everyone will be assigned a number and they will use that number to identify themselves on everything. This number will be, oh I dunno, like, 9 numbers long and...oh, wait...

Cora said...

22 digits?! Holy overkill, Batman!

SouthernBelle said...

That's crazy.

I never had a checkbook until I moved here, and we only got one because some of the companies here don't have online bill paying. So THEY're the ones dragging the rest of us back to 1886.

It shocks me that checks are accepted so many places - isn't it completely easy to use a check that will bounce, or steal someone else's checkbook or something?

PS - Heh heh, you said "sextillion".

The Diva on a Diet said...

Math-phobic that I am ... I almost didn't click on this post when I read the title. It scared me. Now I'm confused and a little dizzy, but looking forward to the sextillion. I've got my bustier on and everything. ;)

Kimizzy said...

I LOVED this post. I'm a math nerd, and I conclude that your mathematical reasoning is accurate and that LADWP should be shot and killed. 22 digits? That's just brutal.

Prunella Jones said...

Maybe they start off with eight digits and then begin to calculate pi?

I prefer six digits myself, so I can use them for lottery numbers.

MelO said...

Lol... hilarious. I wonder about this kind of thing, too.

How have I never checked out your blog before, Mr. Words?

MelO said...

LMAO @ Red

Fancy Schmancy said...

Does not compute.

Danger, overload, system shut-down commencing...

Falwless said...

You damn luddite. It's called online bill pay. Welcome to 1998.

words words words said...

FU, cyberbitch.

Kimmie said...

Oh man, numbers hate me, and it's mutual. My eyes glaze over when the words "taxes", "funds", or "stocks" are mentioned.

And checks? Seriously?