the american weigh

Standard

it’s another form
of yankee isolationism
how we carry our cups, ounces,
gallons, pounds, feet
inches, degrees Fahrenheit,
miles

so deeply in our DNA
we teach children
complex conversions
to that other system

so they can talk scale
with the rest of the world

except for those
slippery scientists
who shifted sides
long ago

to those more standard
measurements

of course, those
track and field events
and charity walks

always sound so much better

in Ks than miles

but to admit that
is to be somehow
yet again

un-American

as if standing tall
is easier to do in feet and inches
than centimeters

even though
those numbers

are bigger

and we would feel lighter
as a nation
if we weighed ourselves
in kilos
not pounds

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29 thoughts on “the american weigh

  1. Rhonda

    I love how you’ve ‘weighed in” on our American-ness ! We think so ‘highly’ of ourselves…but that’s just how we roll out the measuring tape. :)

    (knew you’d do it and you did it quick!)

  2. I still bake in ounces when i make bunsand cakes from family recipes rather than books lol for weight here in UK we use stones and pounds and feet and inches for height not a flattering combination

  3. If you think you have it bad you should try living here in the Great Britain!!! I am a child of the 70s and we were taught both systems at school so instead of being proficient on one, I am useless at both. If it’s any consolation I have spent the whole of the Olympics working out the longer distances into miles (who on earth wants to ride 100km? Surely 60 miles is shorter….). I can’t visualise how high the high jumpers jump when they say 1.54 metres, but if they tell me it’s the height of the average door then I know it’s about 8 feet. Crazy!

  4. Sitting on the metric side of the border this makes me smile. After six years I feel like I can think in Celsius and even do a little measuring in centimeters and kilometers. But when they say we’re going to get 40 mm of rain all I can think of is a little drip of some strangely colo(u)red liquid at the bottom of a beaker in chemistry class. And I still don’t know my own weight in kg.

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