Column: I don’t want to live life by the numbers

There are three reasons to be cautious in reading One Man’s Rant columns. One red flag is that every column includes at least one fact. The second red flag is that everything else is made up. I can’t remember what the third red flag is so from here, you’re on your own.

It’s fun to use numbers to deliver advice: The three ways to eradicate groundhogs; the 107 things you should know about investing; the 31 beverages to avoid for better health, etc.

I doubt groundhogs would appreciate that we might need only three ways to run them out of town. Such a low number sort of says they are unsophisticated and easily outfoxed. If there are three best ways to chase them away, why are there 44 products at the hardware store to do the job, including traps, poisons and strategies to gas them out of existence? I’ve read that you can just stick a garden hose down in a hole and watch them float to the surface on little rubber rafts where you can pick them off in eleven different ways. The math overwhelms me.

And what are the 107 things you should know about investing? Just a couple years ago, there were only eight things to know, but it only required 80-some book pages to explain what they were. Jacking up the number to 107 produces a book of 247 pages with plenty of bar charts and diagrams so the author can charge more at Costco for his published expertise. Who am I to blame the guy for good marketing?

As for the 31 beverages to avoid, I think I know of a few of them. Ancient villages all over the world probably brewed their own elixirs to help pass the time and the endless winter months in the northern climes. At some latitudes, a tasty toe of frog aperitif might have been just the thing following a meal of mastodon (with fries). On the other hand, leg of lizard or scale of dragon shots in front of a roaring fire could be the perfect ending to a weekend of spirited pillaging in the countryside.

The Chinese drink something called lizard wine. It’s a rice-based concoction with unsuspecting (live) lizards mixed in for its particularly piquant taste. You thought I was kidding about the leg of lizard shots, didn’t you?

In the Austrian hinterland, people actually attempt to drink something called Stroh. Since it’s 80 percent pure alcohol, within 46 seconds of draining a glass, folks have been seen making obscene hand gestures on their way to the floor.

So long as any list of disparaged beverages doesn’t include my favorites, Pacifico beer, Coca-Cola and piña coladas in general, I’m golden.

A quick scan of the internet reveals six things to know before you buy a lottery ticket. I wonder if one of the “things to know” is that your chances of winning anything are really rotten?

Just the other day, I heard about five things you need to know before moving to Costa Rica. The fourth thing on the list was that there are 37 billion more spiders there than here in the US. I’m done. I just called the airport to tell them I’m not coming.

One website offers 10 things you need to know in life. Another tells you there are 11 things you need to know in life. I hope the 11th thing on the second website is that no one should boil life down to just the numbers.

Life is a lot more interesting than math.

To comment on this column, email wilaugust46@gmail.com.