Countdowns: It Is Time To Standardize A SystemPosted: September 22, 2010
In a few weeks I will be taking a trip with my great friends. Trips like this, family vacations and special events tend to make me want to count down the days until the event. I think this is a pretty typical urge, but there is a problem with following that urge.
When I count down to an event that I am attending with others, I find that our countdowns sometimes do not line up. I would not think this would be a problem, since we all live on the same planet, with the same calendar. The problem lies in the fact that we use different rules for our countdowns.
I’d like your help in establishing a standard system of counting down days. Whatever decision we come to here will be sent to Count von Count who will confirm our wisdom.
A Hypothetical Situation
For the purpose of this exercise, let’s start with this hypothetical situation:
It is Monday, 8 a.m.. On this coming Friday night we have tickets to a concert that we are both looking forward to. If, in imagining this situation you have us going to see Lady Gaga or anyone who has appeared on American Idol, please re-imagine with emphasis on the part about us BOTH looking forward to it.
As you and I talk about the good time we are going to have on Friday night I would say to you something like “this is going to be a great show. I can’t believe we’re finally down to three days left!”
My System Of Counting Down
You might be shocked by my declaration of three days. Questions as to my ability to count might arise in your mind. Yet you realize that you’ve seen me count as high as ten on days when I am especially sharp. You’re sure I could probably go higher if I took my shoes off and used my toes. So where do I get that we only have three days until the concert?
My countdown system, which I will call the “That one doesn’t count” system results in a lower number of days to count down. Fewer days to count down equals more excitement and optimism for me. How do I achieve fewer days? Two simple rules.
- Any day I wake up, no longer counts.
- The day I am looking forward to doesn’t count.
If we apply That One Doesn’t Count to our hypothetical situation, we don’t count Monday because the sun is up and we are awake. Nor do we count Friday because when we wake on that day, it is the day of the event. There is not an exception made if the event is scheduled for late in that day. Only Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday count, so we have three days to wait for our big fun
Count The Sleeps
Some people ascribe to the system I’ll call Count The Sleeps. This system is fairly self-explanatory, one simply totals the number of nights left to sleep before the day of the event.
Using this method in our hypothetical gives us a countdown of four days, one more than under That Doesn’t Count. We would have to sleep Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights to reach our goal of Friday.
If It Hasn’t Happened, It Doesn’t Count
This is the least optimistic, but possibly the most fact based countdown method.
If you function under “It Hasn’t Happened…” you probably would have been convinced that I’d lost my mind with the countdown of three, because your countdown would likely be five days.
Your countdown would include Monday, because we’d have a full work day ahead of us. It would also include Friday, because we’d have all day to go through until our concert in the evening.
I think of this system as an accounting of every second until the event. Accurate and realistic? Sure. Optimistic? Not so much.
So Who Is Right?
More correctly, whose system should we standardize?
I need the optimism of dropping as many days as possible. I know that some people’s personalities dictate that they function on a strictly factual level. We all need to know we’re making ourselves understood when we talk about our future plans.
Is the proper system for counting down to an event one of the three I’ve described? Perhaps it is another one you’re aware of. Let’s kick this around and settle it, I’ve got a countdown coming up!