Friday, December 17, 2010

Oh the irony...

An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day
It's a black fly in your Chardonnay
It's a death row pardon two minutes too late
And isn't it ironic... don't you think
(Ironic, Alanis Morissette)

Let me tell you a story.  There once was an actuary who had worked at the same company for 23 years.  Over those 23 years, he had worked hard to build a rep.  It was his hope that people would think of him as hard working.  Fun. Compassionate. A decent communicator.  A good department head.  Someone who makes his boss look good.  But more than anything else, he expected that people would think he was good at math.

Why would he think that?  Well, if you didn't check out the link on the word actuary above, here's the short version: an actuary is a math geek who analyzes risk - usually for insurance.  That's right, a math geek.  So yeah, an actuary should be good at math.

Ok, now...check out the picture at the top of this post.  Look at it real close.  That's right -- at the bottom it says, "800 / 400 = 4.0".  WHAT?????

Our actuary used this chart in a presentation this morning.  In front of his boss, you ask?  Yes.  In front of his staff?  Oh yeah.  In fact, it was part of a presentation he was making to his company's monthly staff meeting -- an audience of over 100!  Yep...over 100.

So how ironic is that?  An actuary, whose primary job description is doing complex math, messes up a simple arithmetic calculation in front of everyone.  In writing!  No way to cover THAT up!

Well, by now I'm sure you've guessed that I'm the actuary.  It was pretty embarrassing.  Still is.  The only saving grace is the fact that I'm such a ham, and I'm always looking for chances to entertain.  So I latched on to the irony and commented, "There's nothing worse than an actuary who's bad at math."

There really isn't, is there?  As a pastor who did our staff devotional commented at breakfast, "It's like a preacher messing up reading John 3:16." But I am good at math.  I really am.  (Macy, don't stop asking me questions about your calculus!)

But sometimes, you just have to laugh.  Isn't it ironic?


  1. Is that why my insurance keeps going up...or is it because I have for the past 4 years I keep adding inventory to my fleet......Kevin S.

  2. okay, so i had to laugh outloud! that does remind of my friend who got up to preach and went blank when he was about to say john 3:16...yeah, it happens but at least we can laugh about it :)

  3. Oh my goodness. That is too funny, Donnie! I love that you can laugh about it though. We all do it. In my case it was performing to a sold out crowd at a theatre in New Hampshire and completely forgetting my lines in a production of Hello Dolly. And yes, I was Dolly. I stood there like a complete idiot and then I just started laughing. I didn't know what else to do. I wanted to give everyone their money back.