So says Bert, who continues:
Fortunately, nobody here has ever claimed to be big or clever or grown-up? Anyone like to take a guess at what the following sequence of numbers is?
245, 304, 268, 309, 98, 258, 280, 281, 273, 210, 411, 316, 488, 284, 47
Yes, that’s right – it was an easy one. If the 47 at the end wasn’t enough of a clue, the 98 in the middle really should have given it away. Mmmm, 98 – my favouritest of numbers.
Anyway, here is a graph:
- The upper red line is The Internationally Accepted Standard of Good
- The middle red line is The Internationally Accepted Standard of Basic Competence
- The lower red line is The Internationally Accepted Standard of Barely Avoiding Embarrassment
The mean of these numbers is 271, which as you can see is below the Internationally Accepted Standard of Basic Competence. The median, which allows us to set aside the exceptional numbers like 47 and (mmmm) 98, is 280. This is also below the Internationally Accepted Standard of Basic Competence.
So what we have here is exactly one third of the numbers being acceptable or good, and two-thirds being bad. Actually, if we’re being accurate we should say that only 8/15ths of the numbers are strictly ‘bad’, the other two being better described by the more technical term ‘catastrophically hilarious’.
But enough of this schadenfreude (German – lit: the state of being an Englishman in 2011). In 2008 it was said that the generating engine of these numbers was ‘in transition’. And indeed, the numbers prove that this was true. They were transitioning from being very good, through being ordinary, right the way out the other side towards being crap.