Ball Park Figures


John Bennett

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 110 in 2005.

These are ball-park figures. According to a recent poll, 48% of Americans think the earth goes around the sun in a day. I can understand how someone might make that mistake, but 23% think the sun goes around the earth and 4% think the earth's flat. 68% think the world was made in six days, which is a conservative assessment if you subscribe to the Big Bang Theory and believe it was made in an instant and everything since then has been evolution. Which brings us to monkeys.

14% of Americans believe monkeys are the descendants of Tarzan and that Jane was a virgin. Bestiality comes into play at this point, which ties into AIDS, which goes to show that God is out to wipe out homosexuals. 73% of Americans believe God is an old man with a white beard which explains why he had to rest a day after making the world. 98% of that 78% feel, however, that that's no reason for Wal Mart to close on Sundays.

The list goes on, but what I'm curious about is: are there similar polls for other countries? And further, do these polls concerning America's fucked-up beliefs correlate with the hard stats that show us far behind the rest of the "advanced nations" in matters of education and health?

Seriously. I want to know what the average Chinese peasant thinks about Tarzan and the universe. I want to know if Greek boys still skip down the street holding hands. I want to know if it's time to pack up and move to Spain.

I have a deep sense of global dread. The world I grew up in has all but disappeared. It's going to be close, but I think I have enough momentum to carry me to my death bed before this pestilence overtakes me.

53% of Americans believe ET is real and called home on a T-Mobile cell phone.