Surprise metric conversion question


I’m with Silas down at Coogee Beach. There’s an alcohol ban in the
park behind the beach so the rummies hang out at the bus shelter next
to the park. There’s a bench seat around the side of the shelter
where they can sit without getting in the way of the people waiting for
the bus. I’m walking by with Silas when one of them comes over to me
and she asks me a surprise question:

“How many pounds is six and a half kilos?”

I mentally divide 6.5 by 0.453 and answer:

“Ummm … about fourteen pounds.”

She’s not happy with this answer. It seems she’d told the others that
she had a six and half kilo baby and they had been telling her that
she had got the weight wrong. I suggest that maybe her baby had been
six and a half pounds, but she’s still sure that it was six and half

Meanwhile, another one of her group has come over. He announces to

“Watch this! I can make this dog my friend for life!”

Now, on a difficulty scale from 1 to 10, making friends with Silas is
about a two, but he has a special technique involving getting down on
his hands and knees and putting his face really close to Silas’ nose.
Startled, Silas leaps back and keeps his distance from the
crazy human. I reassure Silas and eventually he lets this man pat him
and he is able to declare his technique a success.


  1. #1 Roberto
    November 3, 2007

    Loved the picture and the story. 🙂

  2. #2 Danny Yee
    November 3, 2007

    If she had had a 6.5 kilogram baby, I would certainly expect her to remember it!

  3. #3 stewart
    November 3, 2007

    You work too hard; just multiply by 2.2 (so it’s only 13.3 pounds, much less memorable). In officially metric Canada, I just had my physical, and was given my weight and height in pounds and feet/inches. Mentally calculating my BMI was a good 2 minute workout.
    Everyone seems to have a special ‘technique’ for making friends with pets. Fortunately, I’ve not seen anyone use the dog’s own technique yet.

  4. #4 Robert
    November 3, 2007

    You divide by .453? First, I think .454 is closer. Second, I double, then add 10% (e.g., 2*6.5 = 13, plus 10% = 13 + 1.3 = 14.3).

  5. #5 toby
    November 3, 2007

    Yes, multiply 6.5 by 2.2 and you’ll get 14.3.

    Both our daughters were 9 pounds+, and you could assure this lady that if her baby was really 14 pounds+, by God she’d know all about it.

    Our first child just gave up on the way out, and had to assisted by a forceps. Besides passing out and missing the whole birth experience (I was actually the first parent to see our baby, though I had been kicked out of the theatre when the going got rough), my wife had stitches and could barely walk for a week.

    Actually, the gyno also told us he had been present at the birth of a 14 pound baby (or maybe it was 12?) that very week, so such outliers can happen.

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    November 4, 2007

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  7. #7 IanP
    November 4, 2007

    Nice story – Brings to mind another I was sent from a friend the other day – not sure where it came from but may bring a smile to some of you dog lovers out there.

    How To Give A Cat A Pill

    1. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if
    holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of
    cat’s mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right
    hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth
    and swallow.

    2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in
    left arm and repeat process.

    3. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

    4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm, holding
    rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back
    of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

    5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe.
    Call spouse from garden.

    6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front
    and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head
    firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop
    pill down ruler and rub cat’s throat vigorously.

    7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap.
    Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep
    shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing

    8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head
    just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force
    mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

    9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink 1 beer
    to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse’s forearm and remove blood
    from carpet with cold water and soap.

    10. Retrieve cat from neighbor’s shed. Get another pill. Open
    another beer. Place cat in cupboard, and close door on to neck, to leave
    head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down
    throat with elastic band.

    11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on
    hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply cold
    compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Apply
    whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw
    Tee shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

    12. Call fire department to retrieve the damn cat from across the
    road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to
    avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

    13. Tie the little bastard’s front paws to rear paws with garden
    twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy-duty pruning
    gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of filet
    steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water
    down throat to wash pill down.

    14. Consume remainder of scotch. Get spouse to drive you to the
    emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm
    and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to
    order new table.

    15. Arrange for RSPCA to collect mutant cat from hell and call local
    pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.
    How To Give A Dog A Pill

    1. Wrap it in bacon.

    2. Toss it in the air.

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