In statistician heaven they can tell you exactly how many oxygen molecules went up your nose, every time you said "nope" or "drought" or "take a right," every Jeff you encountered knowing or not, in all your years if you exceeded the masturbation average. It's not a decisive moral scorecard. You are confronted only with sheer faceless data. It's the archive of archives, a place where numeric uncertainty goes to die and get put into a billion different rubrics. I know cause I been there. How many inches of dental floss, how many pounds of lard, how many grains of salt. Brands. It's all up there and they sure won't give it away, not for commercial means at least. I told my bud who works at the R&D consumer firm to wait in the car. I didn't want any trouble, even though it's not much of a compound. No guards, just fellas with clipboards, white coats. They're still intimidating in that sanitary way. I didn't fiddle with my armpit hair like I tend to do. How many doorknobs you twirled, how many keystrokes.
Right in the foyer one of the big chiefs sits behind an oak desk, behind him a big old abacus. You give him your name, date of birth, city of origin and fingerprints. He tried to hand me some crazy paperwork but I told him no need, repeat customer. He narrowed his eyebrows and jerked his thumb towards the main corridor. How many times you spoke salad to a microphone, English to an animal.
I found a vacant extraction room. They're like a principal's office, glossed with tattoo parlor air. I tried to kill some time with the pamphlets. They didn't have any good cutaways of body parts, just a lot of unshaven models. Their speech bubbles were rubbery and desperate. How many breaths. How many steps, snaps and handclaps.
Finally got an entry whiz to see me, documents in tow. "You're Mr. Tyson," he said, closing the heavy door. "We got a lot of work to do."
I said, "This time I'd like to explore the stats on my youth. They never kept track of my slugging percentage in Little League."
He got all phlegmy. "Mr. Tyson, we all got weaknesses. Everyone under God's golden sun has a vice."
I said, "Did my lady put you up to this? I could use plenty of findings on that."
He said, "Lady knew you needed help."
I asked him, "How many times did she sneak out? How many times with the Realtor on our calendar?"
He didn't flinch. "How many times you bunk her with that ladle?" He was being smart. He said, "How many stiffs of Gregor's? How many of those powder pills?" He was being smart, he knew how many.
Some hairnet walked in, handed me some colored wristbands and a plastic cup. It was hard to get the lid off. Really, I'll take any heaven that'll have me. Tears. Beers. How many seconds you killed playing with a stopwatch.