Only In America . . . TM

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.


Changing the names of everyday things from American to metric is going to put money in everyone's pocket, create extra leisure time, and reduce highway traffic deaths by at least 30 percent, according to testimony given before the House Subcommittee on Prosperity in America yesterday afternoon.

Allan Q. Ripke, a representative of the Government Accounting Office, told the subcommittee that "while it may take a little time to get used to thinking in liters, kilometers and kilograms instead of quarts, miles and pounds, the metric conversion will create the biggest boom in this country since the Gold Rush."

"The first and most noticeable effect," Ripke said, "will be the dramatic lowering of food bills for every family in America. Meat, cheese, vegetables--everything we buy by the pound--will be reduced in price by more than half."

"The savings will be accomplished when we start buying in kilograms instead of pounds," he told the committee members. "Since a kilogram contains 2.2 pounds, we will be getting more than twice as much of everything we buy for the same price."

"Besides that milk, fruit juice, and other things we buy by the quart will be cheaper because we will be buying by the liter in the metric system. Since a liter is about 10 percent more than a quart, we'll be getting more for our food dollar there, too."

"But," committee chairperson Louella Jones said, "we don't see how changing to the metric system could possibly have any effect on leisure time."

"According to government statistics, we spend more than half of our leisure time travelling," Ripke explained, "and the impact of the metric system on travel time will be twofold. First, we will be switching from miles to kilometers. Since a kilometer is less than 2/3 of a mile, every place in America will now be 1/3 closer than it was, saving every one of us that much time when we travel from one place to another.

"The second benefit will be realized when we convert speed limits on the highways from miles per hour to kilometers per hour. The current speed limit of 55 miles per hour will become 88 kilometers per hour. This will allow everyone to travel 60 percent faster, which, combined with the closer distances, will reduce vacation travel time by 50 percent. And less travel time means more leisure time."

"Another benefit is that the cost of travel will go down as well. Not only will you use 30% less gas, but you will be paying less for each gallon at the pump."

"When we go to the metric system, we will start using the Imperial Gallon, which is equivalent to 1.2 of our old gallons. This will save 20 percent on fuel costs, reduce the price of all goods distributed by truck, and lessen our dependence on foreign oil."

At this point the committee chairperson pointed out that it was time to adjourn, and asked Mr. Ripke if he could continue his testimony tomorrow.

"Certainly," he replied. "I still have to explain how conversion to the metric system will more than double the amount of land in this country, reduce the number of Americans who are overweight, and dramatically increase our national resources."

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.