Last week I had an interesting conversation about confusing units. For instance, the commonly used light year is of course not a measurement of time despite its rather confusing suffix. During that conversation I heard about another length measurement called beard second. As you can imagine, what it measures is not time despite its ending in “second,” but rather the length that beard grows in one second. Something like 5 nanometers, or 100 Ångströms according to some.
Wikipedia’s list of humorous units of measurement lists a few more of these, but I feel that a very important unit is missing: the drunk mile (drm). I debated with myself whether or not to call it drunken mile instead but in the end I opted for the shorter version. This is a unit of measurement that is supposed to be used during rather inebriated states, so the fewer syllables the better.
So, time for some definitions. What is a drunk mile? The drunk mile, despite ending in a length measurement, is the time it takes for a drunk person to traverse the distance of one mile.
“But Karja, that won’t work,” I hear you cry. “The time it takes to walk a mile varies enormously from person to person! And what if someone has a bike? Or goes by taxi?”
Ah, but despair not! Careful scientific study has revealed that – despite what one might think – the drunk mile is surprisingly constant. And that constant is two and a half hours. I’ll give you some examples of situations that have been proven to support the drunk mile hypothesis, i.e. take exactly 1 drm:
- Sven and Inga has been drinking heavily but at different locations. Sven’s location is exactly one mile from Inga’s. Sven calls Inga whom replies that she’ll be right over. She arrives two and a half hour later.
- Ragnar and Knut are at a party, and Knut suddenly remembers that he’s forgotten to bring his iPod filled with awesome trance music (or whatever kids today listen to). Ragnar graciously lends his bike to Knut, who rushes off to fetch the iPod from his house which is located one mile from the party. He arrives two and a half hours later, even more intoxicated for some reason.
- Sophie and Sanna are preparing to go to a party, and are drinking heavily at Sophie’s place. They call Mauri, whom they are going to meet downtown, and say that they’ll take a cab right away. Despite the introduction of a motorized vehicle they still arrive downtown (which of course is located one mile away) after two and a half hours.
As you can see, the drunk mile is a very useful measurement. Instead of saying “we’ll be right down” or “oh, maybe fifteen or thirty minutes” you can say “I’ll be down in 1.5 drm” and everyone will know what it entails!