Courtesy ArtivistSo, I was lying in bed the other day wondering if my life would ever amount to anything.
Now, I can just picture your little mouths mouthing, “But, JGordon! How could you possibly think that about yourself? You have a bachelor’s degree! And you have a job that pays slightly more than minimum wage! And a beard!”
Hush, my Buzzketeers, hush. Sure, all of those things are pretty great, but when I’m gone what will remain of me? Piles of plastic packaging, probably, and maybe the beard. So what? What kind of legacy is that to leave the world? Where is my body of work? My corpus workus, as they say in Latin.
And I got to thinking, on that bleak afternoon. I tried to imagine which of the things I do every day might eventually add up into something special. The task was made difficult by the fact that I do very little every day, except, perhaps, sleep and eat. But… there is something else that I do every day, something I’ve done every day for as long as I can remember: urinate! While that may not seem like much when you think of it on the daily scale, try to imagine a lifetime of urinating – practically oceans of pee, right? Something to be proud of, certainly.
The whole thing was still on my mind as I went to work the next day. Now, it just so happens that the Human Body Gallery at the Science Museum of Minnesota has a fun little display of jugs and cartons representing the amounts of the various bodily effluvia that we produce every day, stuff like snot, and sweat, and… pee. There was something to think about! So, in between smiles and nods, I did some math.
According to the soda bottle full of yellow stuff, we produce between 4 and 8 cups of urine a day (Wikipedia verifies this although it uses that confounded and confounding metric system). I suppose that all depends on the individual person, but being a fairly average guy, I decided to settle on a nice 6 cups of urine per day. I decided, also, that I will live to be 80 years old (for the purposes of this calculation, at least). So, in 80 years there are 29,200 days. No, wait, 29,220 days (or something). At 6 cups a day, we have a lifetime accumulation 175,320 cups of pee. There are 16 cups in a gallon, so we have 10,957.5 gallons of pee. That’s a lot!
But, then again, just how much is 10,957.5 gallons exactly? Well, it would take up about 1465 cubic feet, but what is it in terms I can use? Because we’re talking about lifetime achievements here. How does my 10,957.5 gallons stack up next to, say, an Olympic size swimming pool? Now, filling an Olympic size pool, that would truly be something to be proud of.
Obviously, there are going to be different sizes of Olympic pools, but the word on the street says that they generally hold about 2,500,000 liters. Argh! That metric system again! Let’s see. There are 3.785411784 liters per gallon, so the Olympic pool would hold…
About 660,430 gallons. Oh.
That’s 649,472.5 more gallons than my 10,957.5 gallons, and, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t even have that much if you factor in my childhood (which I’m sure was sub-par when it came to urine production).
What a tremendous letdown.
To fill that Olympic pool I would need 61 lifetimes of peeing, or 60 friends saving their pee for one lifetime, and I don’t think I even know 60 other people, much less 60 other people willing to make that kind of commitment for me.
I was crestfallen. No, strike that, I am crestfallen. What else is there for me? I can’t take up scrapbooking again, not after what happened at the last meeting. What can I do?
And what can you all do? Unless you pee 60 times as much as I do, you’re all in the same rapidly filling boat as me. Start bailing.