Swans Commentary » swans.com October 8, 2007  



A Couple Of Sampling Errors


by Peter Byrne





(Swans - October 8, 2007)  

He:  A poll is as simple as saying yes or no. Or making a check mark.

She:  A check mark?

He:  In a box.

She:  In a box?

He:  Wait a moment. Look out the window. Is it a nice day or is it raining?

She:  It's hot as hell and forget raining. It hasn't rained for six weeks. That's why we're not allowed to water the lawn.

He:  Wouldn't you know it? Yes or no is too simple for her. Get it into your head that the point of a poll is to find out what you personally prefer.

She:  I'd like some rain, after dark, not too much. I don't want to cover up and wear galoshes in this heat.

He:  Galoshes? Have we got those?

She:  Only one pair. They're with the snow shovels in the garage.

He:  Exactly. Galoshes are for shoveling snow.

She:  You'd be glad to have them in a flood.

He:  Galoshes in a flood would hardly help. You'd want hip boots at least.

She:  I'll put us down for another pair.

He:  Where?

She:  In the box.

He:  For the poll? A poll doesn't only ask what you want, but what you don't want.

She:  Uh huh. Well, I don't want a poll. I want action, rain.

He:  Now you've understood. So when they ask you, "Madam, what would you prefer?" you say a late night shower or whatever.

She:  Okay. "Sir, I prefer no poll please. You can stuff it."

He:  That's no answer. You should say, "No opinion."

She:  Me, no opinion? Look, I may not be in the flower of youth, with all the flashy do-dads, but if there's one thing I do have it's opinions.

He:  Let's drop it. When they phone you, simply say, "No tanks. No speaka da English."

She:  They certainly have Spanish speakers.

He:  Tell them you're from Hindustan.

She:  What language wouldn't I speak there?

He:  Are you pretending to be dimmer than you are?

She:  Non-comprende. When was the last time they phoned you for a poll?

He:  Personally? Never. Not yet. It's odd because they're making a hell of a lot of calls. Only this morning the paper had a full page of poll results.

She:  So I don't know anything about polls and you're priming me for a call. But you know all about polls and they're ignoring you.

He:  I don't claim to know everything. It's simply that as a responsible citizen I open the door to participatory democracy.

She:  They come to the door too?

He:  Manner of speaking. I don't hang up on them.

She:  If they call.

He:  One of life's uncertainties. But it's only a matter of time.

She:  Good. I'll keep my no opinion ready for them.

He:  You know what? You're one of those 3% margin-of-errors.

She:  My best friends never told me.

He:  Myself I'm more an undecided, weighing up the pros and cons like a judge.

She:  You ought to take a gavel with you when you answer the door.

He:  Let's get some air.

She:  I'll wake the pooch.

He:  On second thought, let him sleep. That sun won't help his asthma.

She:  I'd take a nap myself but I'm afraid the phone will wake me.

He:  Hold on. We're not going to cower here in front of a telephone. I'll disconnect it for the afternoon.

She:  If you think so. But it's a radical move. What will the pollsters think?

He:  What do you mean? We've got our rights. Nobody-at-home should have a niche in the statistics. If not, let them call back.

She:  Fine. Close the curtains and don't step on the pooch.

He:  Look at him dreaming. He must have a lot of data in him.

She:  I suppose he could be polled. He has his views.

He:  I'll say this for him: He's a pretty broad sample.

She:  You know, he won't eat just anything.

He:  He could be surveyed on his favorite dishes.

She:  He nixed that Chinese import. He was having nothing to do with it.

He:  So you tossed it?

She:  I tried it on the neighbor's cat.

He:  That was risky.

She:  Nah. They got two, and nobody saw me.

He:  The puss went for it?

She:  Big time, in gulps.

He:  Just as I thought. That Chinese pet grub wasn't poison. The public will believe anything.

She:  What was the fuss then?

He:  The pet suey made dogs sick.

She:  That sounds like poison to me.

He:  There's mental sickness.

She:  A no-global fixation?

He:  Just consider the pooch there. A dog's sensitive. He's not going to tuck into a distant cousin.

She:  You mean the Chinese spiked their stuff with superannuated mutt?

He:  Obviously. You proved it. Why do you think the cat went for it like that?

She:  I never liked cats much.

He:  It's a cruel world.

She:  Without even thinking of people we don't know.


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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art13/pbyrne49.html
Published October 8, 2007