I have a unit of life I call the B.S. Factor. That is the amount of shinola that's being dished out to convince me that something is a good idea. Or that what I'm hearing is the truth, the whole truth,, and nothing but the truth. Everything has a B.S. Factor. Your chances of getting a date, a job, a raise, or pregnant are pretty obvious. "Do I look fat in these jeans?" has a B.S. Factor waiting to land.
It would be nice to have a booklet that lists all the B.S. Factors for every possible situation, so you could just refer to it when you're trying to make a decision about something and not have to do the calculations in your head.
The sentiment "I love you" would have more relevance with its B.S. Factor prominently displayed over your head at the moment the words come tumbling out of your mouth. It would sure save those discussions that start out, "Well, I love you, but I'm not IN love with you."
There should be a portable B.S. Factor for spring break, Mardi Gras, and all four years of college. After the Friday night 'show us your t*ts contest' and twenty four shots of peppermint schnapps, hearing "I love you" should set off the B.S. alarm like fire ants in your pants.
Calling in sick at work could get tricky if caller I.D. had a B.S. Factor, but the technology has been elusive. Same with your kids calling to say that there's a party at Amber's house and her parents are home. Getting people to just give up their B.S. Factors instead of making us figure them out would help, too.
"You've lost weight haven't you, Ann?" "Aw, thanks, Eleanor -- so what's the B.S. Factor on that compliment?"
The B.S. Factor probably had its origin in sports, although you could argue that Bill Clinton gave it a good ride in the Oval Office. When Mark McGuire tells a Senate subcommittee, "I have never taken steroids," that's classic B.S. at its finest. Lance Armstrong may be right behind him.
Another fine example is, "The Cubs are going to win the pennant this year." There's so much B.S. in that statement, it doesn't even need a factor.
But sports has never had a monopoly on bullshit. Take weapons of mass destruction. If the Bush Adminstration had only given us the B.S. factor for the number of actual WMDs in Iraq, we might not be sitting around with sand up our butts for the past four years.
The next time the president callsapress conference to announce the importance of liberating some country to smithereens, the B.S. Factor could flash in a corner of the screen next to his approval ratings.
All the hoopla surrounding an announcement of the B.S. Factor for really special occasions, say commuting Scooter Libby's sentence because he's a white guy, would give Dick Cheney something to do besides shoot people in the face. Or have another heart attack. He could be the Grand Wizard of the B.S. Factor, except we would need to have a B.S. Factor to rate his B.S. Factor.
There's a guy I know who embellishes stories about himself on occasion. Okay, all the time. He does it so often that I just call mutual friends to ask them what the B.S. Factor is for his latest story. "Bill says he used to be first assistant to the president when he was governor of Texas. Can you give me the B.S. Factor?" Lately, we just speak in shorthand. "Did you hear what BIll said?" "Yep. I'd give it a 58."
I have clients that give me fake deadlines. "We have to have that by tomorrow." They never give you time to do something right, but somehow there's always plenty of time to fix it on the back end. "We'd like this fixed by the end of next month." We usually discuss the B.S. Factor at the start of an assignment among ourselves for entertainment purposes if nothing else. I don't think a client would take kindly to "So, you wanna give me the B.S. Factor with that deadline?"
Of course, the B.S. Factor could use some juice. I'd like to see it work its way into mainstream usage like the smiley face did. Maybe somebody will make a movie out of it. The B.S. Factor. With Adam Sandler. Think Liar Liar with Ann Coulter. Or The View with gay guys. Or Martha Stewart with instant potatoes.
Just ignore me. I've been in Dallas for the last few days. Traveling makes me punchy.