Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The Demetrification of Interstate 19
So, how did we get these metric-based road signs on I-19 in the first place? It was a little experiment the government carried out when we were seriously considering adopting the metric system—sometime in the early 70s. However, some 30 years later, the good politicians in Arizona have adopted that McDonald's homogeneous mentality and are planning on using $1.5 million of the state’s half-billion dollar stimulus package to replace the signs with our old-school mileage system.
God forbid the travellers of I-19 become a bit confused or mentally challenged all these years with those damn metric signs.
One colleague pointed out that while John McCain has been ranting and raving over the “pork” particulars that have been folded into the stimulus package, he hasn’t complained a word about the pork that’s in his own back pocket—replacing perfectly good kilometer-based road signs with mile-based road signs.
As I sit here and contemplate this menial travesty, perhaps the money would be better spent if it were applied to converting all the other road signs throughout the country into metric-based road signs. Yet, I suppose we’d rather snub our nose at the rest of the metric-based world because it might be a little too much for our educational system to teach another base-10 measurement system. I mean, let’s face it, there’s only a handful of countries in the world that are not using the metric system.
As long as we’re hell-bent against the rest of the world, I propose we get rid of our nickels and dimes and replace them with eighth and sixteenth coins instead. That’ll show’em!
We always talk about what a great country we are—our innovation, our ingenuity, our creativity, and so on. Yet, after all these years of consideration, we are either incapable or too stubborn to adopt something as simple as the metric system.