Tuesday, April 29, 2008

People Be All Pushin' the Envelope on the Concept of 100%

I was watching this one cooking contest/reality TV show, where these three bungling chefs were promising that they would do better so that they wouldn't get eliminated by the cranky British host/judge. You know the show I'm talking about? It's pretty much indistinguishable from the rest of television, but whatever.

Anyway, the first guy faces the judge and commits to giving 110% in the kitchen from now on.

As junior high school graduates, we all know that 100% is the maximum. 100%. That means everything. Every part of the whole thing. It means everything, but we live in a very extreme world, and I don't know if you noticed, but everything is just not enough anymore. So people started saying 110% to refer to trying really extra super hard at things that are actually not mathematically quantifiable - things like being a chef on a reality TV show, for example.

So the one guy, he said he was going to give 110%.

Then the next guy comes up to talk this fake a-hole host/judge dude. This guy gets an idea. He is going to mathematically one-up the guy before him. Why not, right? If you can throw around one magical and imaginary mathematical value, why not another one - one of higher imaginary value.

You see, he commits to give 125%. He will give 125% in the kitchen from now on. Wow.

Yup, 110%, the beloved value of sportscasters and youth athletics coaches throughout America had just been made completely obsolete.

Now what happens next is a very intense moment for me. There are three guys who have to report to this idiot judge/host guy, so there's one more guy left. The question on everyone's mind at this point is this:

Is he going to "go there"?

It's quite intense. He is caught in the middle of an arms proliferation battle, except the 'arms' in this case are conceptually impossible values, escalating at the speed of reality TV. Is he going to say that he will commit to giving a value larger that 125% in the kitchen from now on? To not do so would be letting the other guys win, but... It's dangerous, it's completely uncharted territory. They show the guy on camera, he clearly seems to be weighing his words. Could the very fabric of the universe be destroyed if he says the he will give more that 125%? Has a value higher than 125% ever even been thought of? What would that even be? 135%?... 200%?!?!?!

My heart was pounding.

The guy, he faces the judge, and he just says something like "Iiiiiiiiii'm not so good with percentages, but all I can tell you is that I'll do my best."

Point being: He did look like a chump, but he might have actually saved the world from imploding on itself.

He might have gotten voted off the show. I forget.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

My boss is fond of this foolishness -- the marketing meetings are always all about how we have to "give 110 percent." Drives me batty.