the american weigh

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

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

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


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

About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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29 Responses to the american weigh

  1. Green Speck says:

    hmmm … something to think about !!!

  2. Rhonda says:

    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!)

  3. boomiebol says:

    You are on a roll as always today. Like this very much

  4. paulaacton says:

    I have nominated you for an award please pop by and collect it when you get chance

  5. paulaacton says:

    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

  6. sterlingsop says:

    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!

    • Oh–I am a child of the 70s too–taught both systems because we were supposed to switch, and then somehow we did not. I use conversions all the time for work, and they are a HUGE PAIN.

  7. Ian Moone says:

    Very interesting thoughts here

  8. Kyle says:

    we have similar issues in the uk – i have to say though 15 cm sound more impressive than 6 inches 😉

  9. Jeremy Nathan Marks says:

    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.

  10. nelle says:

    Nice commentary. In most of my novel writing I go metric. Only the one I work now runs counter to this preference.

  11. This is very very good! LOVE your blog, your poetry and your heart and vision!

  12. i still think in inches and pounds and yards, despite the best efforts of my kids

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