Metric Can Be A Tall Order And Weighty Issue

| Working | June 12, 2014

(My wife is applying to a graduate school overseas. She has to have a medical form done over the spring. It asks for weight and height in kilograms and meters, but the doctor missed that and filled the form in for pounds and feet. She returns to the doctor’s office to get this and some other details corrected or explained by someone at the reception desk, but is intercepted by someone else at the doctor’s office, probably a supervisor.)

Supervisor: *condescendingly* “Can I help you, Mrs. [Wife]?”

Wife: “Yes, I was taking a look at this form, and it looks like the doctor made a mistake.”

Supervisor: *takes the sheet* “How so?”

Wife: “Well, she’s listed my weight as 145 kilograms, which I’m clearly not. I’m probably 145 pounds, not kilograms.”

Supervisor: “Listen, dear. I don’t know what to tell you. The scale doesn’t lie: That’s your weight.”

(For those not exactly privy to Imperial/Metric conversion, 145 kilograms is about 320 pounds.)

Wife: “Excuse me?”

Supervisor: “The doctor put 145 there. I’m sure she knows what she’s doing.”

Wife: “And I’m sure it’s a mistake. Can I talk to the doctor?”

Supervisor: “She’s not available at this time.”

Wife: “And what about my height?”

Supervisor: “What about it?”

Wife: “I’m five-and-three-quarters meters tall?”

(Again, my non-metric friends, that’s nearly nineteen feet tall.)

Supervisor: “I have no idea.”

Wife: “So, will you have someone fix it?”

Supervisor: “That’s what the doctor put down!”

Wife: “And the doctor’s not available?”

Supervisor: “Correct. Goodbye, Mrs. [Wife]!”

Wife: “Wait, but… err, nevermind.”

(Eventually, my wife decided to mail in the form with ‘kg’ and ‘m’ crossed out, replaced by ‘lbs’ and ‘ft,’ respectively. Our fingers are still crossed that the school understands that some people don’t understand metric.)


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