Thursday, February 28, 2013

High Octane Logic

Here's one more recent remark from boy genius Caleb. (As I noted in my last post, he's really good at five-year-old math.)

Who says consumers don't have much choice?

I'm about to fuel up the minivan, and I'm thinking out loud because I know he's watching me.

"In goes the debit card, and we punch in our zip code. Eight-four-oh-one-five. There we go! Now, let's see, I guess we'll go with 89 octane," I say as I take the nozzle off its hook, wondering if we can qualify for a third mortgage to pay for this.

His curiosity never resting, he asks, "Dad, what's that?"

"What's what?"

"Those numbers?"

"Oh, they have different grades of gasoline you can buy. It's called octane. See, there's 87, 89, and 91. We're getting the 89 octane, because that's what makes our car run best."

And then he comes out with: "89 is the most important number of all."

"Oh, yeah, buddy? Why is that?"

"Because without it, we could not count to 100."

His argument is perfectly sound, but completely invalid. Or maybe it's valid but unsound? I'm not sure which. I took some classes covering this stuff, but it's been a while, and my memory is not as sound as it once was--probably about 89%.

All I could say was, "You're right, buddy!" and, mumbled under my breath, "At least on that second part."


  1. I would admit how long I just spent thinking about that, but I'm too embarrassed...

  2. Don't worry. I've been thinking about it for weeks. Can we all just agree that no number is more important than any other? I'll run this past my boy and see what he says.