Approaching the Infinite

My young son poses the greatest math questions–

Is x 15 hundred thousand million billion? Is y 85 hundred 251 thousand 6725 million?

Yes. I know that means I need to work on number sequence with him, but there is a lovely poetry to his big, big numbers that I am not anxious to lose.

He approaches the infinite with gusto.

We, the American tax payers, often seem to have even less of a grasp of the bigness of big numbers. We need to break them down into meaningful units.

A trillion, for instance. Do you know how much a trillion is? A trillion dollars? A trillion stars? If we are ever to regain our fiscal footing we all must face an unimaginable debt. A debt in the trillions. Lots and lots of them.

And how about a billion? A billion people? A billion years? It is easy to pretend to grasp numbers that are beyond our normal comprehension.

And even a few hundred million. Heck, let’s just say 65. Sixty five million is great lottery payout, but a nightmarish loan.

Be careful of the debt you are not rich enough to pay by yourself. Be careful not just about money–here today, gone tomorrow, but the other kinds of debt a human can incur.

Grace or judgment on each note.

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