Stan was teaching social statistics to a group of elderly neighbors.Since he was 109 it gave them all hope to see him demonstrating his prowess with various techniques.He was planning to do some logic and philosophy too.
Annie his mistress was sitting by the door so she could answer the bell if any paramedics turned up for tea.
“I’m not going to calculate the standard deviations” he murmured.”I just want you to grasp the general purpose.”
“Deviations,they’re not normal are they?” enquired his neighbor “Henry,an ex-English teacher.”So how can they be standard? It’s confusing..”
“Are you thinking of deviants?” Stan enquired calmly yet firmly
”Certainly not,at my age .I’m a bit past that!””Still , it adds a bit of excitement to the class.” he thought.
How do words in ordinary language relate to those in Statistics?”asked Henry kindly
“They are just more precisely defined in statistics.To say someone is a deviant is a rather vague term.”
“No,it’s not!My neighbor is a deviant.He dresses entirely in yellow.”
“Well,that must be hard to do.Certainly unusual.” Stan agreed boldly.
“But in another country that might be the norm.So it’s a matter of context.
In statistics, it’s more boring.There’s a formula.It’s totally independent of context.Have you ever wondered why so many mathematicians have more than a touch of Asperger’s syndrome?”
“No,it’s not something that wanders through my mind much”replied Henry
A shudder passed through the room at hearing the word “formula“, which perhaps they considered something of a deviant!Anything with letters and numbers mixed together is certainly not welcome in many people’s minds, along with their more unusual sexual tastes, desires ,and inclinations which were kept secret even from themselves in many cases.
“Time for tea.” called Annie,hoping to divert their attention.She carried in a platter of mouse sandwiches kindly donated by the local ambulance service and some iced Victoria sponge she and Stan had made the day before while Mary was giving a lecture on doughnuts and algebraic topology.
“Just a quick word about next week.We’ll take a look at ratios and proportions and maybe see how that relates to the concept of rationality.”
“That sounds fun!” Annie called encouragingly.Henry decided to act on a deviant desire and fell onto her lap.
”Oh,dear!” she gasped loudly as the chair collapsed under her.
”Why can’t you be deviant at home?”
“My wife won’t let me!” He kindlily answered.
“And look,” Stan continued,”we’ll have to ring 999.This chair is in fragments.I thought for one day we’d be able to avoid calling them out!”
“Well,life is not controllable.” said a quiet but fierce looking lady with sharp green eyes.
”That’s what makes it tolerable“
She then greedily consumed a large piece of iced cake .
“I can stand the thinking if the cake is good” she whispered to her shy friend Amy.
”That’s rather a feeble argument,”Amy retorted.”You can’t really compare cake and statistics.”
“I’ll compare anything I like!” the green-eyed woman snarled loudly.
“You do what you like but you must keep a sense of proportion!”
“Now then,have you rung 999?” Stan queried of Annie.”Yes,here they are,and they’ve got a stretcher for the chair!”
“Well,that’s certainly unusual,even deviant“,Stan thought anxiously to himself.
”Where do they get their funding? Is there a fund for distributing money to help chairs which are not fit for purpose?
And so ask all of us