The Ecphorizer

The Meassure of Happiness
Aphrodite Fish, A.B., M.L.S.

Issue #18 (February 1983)

Upon being queried once again the other night by our television set as to how we spell "relief" (generally, "b-o-u-r-b-o-n"), we were reminded of a recent conversation with a female acquaintance of ours, in which the question arose as to how happiness might be measured. She had remarked that her happiness varied inversely as the square of the distance between herself and [quoteright]her lover. We immediately inquired as to her unit of measure. If it is in "continents," for instance, then his removal to the East Coast, while she remains in California, carries him a distance of 1 unit away, and she is by definition happy. She demurred.

We next assumed the unit to be the mile. He is then at a distance of 2,485 units, and she is therefore possessed of l.6l93742E-07 units of happiness. A small amount by anyone's reckoning.

However, if our unit of measure is Cucumber Lengths (CL), then if we assume a length of 8 inches, we come up with the equation

H(appiness) = l/(((528O.*l.5)2485)**2),

or 2.5816470E-15, a trifling sum indeed.

Extrapolating from this, we find that when they are 1 CL apart, they have H = 1/(l**2), or unity, which agrees with the intuitive estimate. When the cucumber is in place, of course, we must calculate it at zero distance, which yields the equation: H = 1/(0**2), which is clearly (positive) infinity. Q.E.D.

By inspection, we find that this method cannot produce negative happiness. Also, subsidiary calculations show that there are 7,920 cpm (cucumbers per mile). Both of these observations, however, depend upon whose cucumber is under scrutiny.

A perhaps obvious corollary of the above consideration is that the longer the cucumber, the faster happiness falls off as it recedes. For instance, if the above cucumber had been only 6 inches long, its removal to Danbury would result in the generation of the following: l/(((5280.*2.)*2485.)**2), or l.4521764E-15 happiness, a 56% decrease. Note that the calculations at the boundaries (a separation of one, zero or infinity CL) still hold.

On the face of it, this last calculation would seem to lend credence to the belief that the quantity of happiness produced by this appliance is in direct proportion to its size. However, anecdotal evidence indicates that, within bounds still to be experimentally determined, it is not the dimensions of the cucumber, but the manner in which it is employed, that is generative of happiness for both wielder and wieldee. We intend to embark on this vital research as soon as funding can be obtained. 

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