Graeme −> Language −> Words and Wisdom −> Assumptions 

ASSUMPTIONS

When you A-S-S-U-M-E, you make an A-S-S out of U and M-E.  I learned that on the "Odd Couple" TV show.

The earth rotates counter-clockwise, right?  Yes, but only if you ASSUME you're looking at it from the North Pole.  Do the hands of a clock go clockwise?   Only if you're looking at it from the front -- they go counter-clockwise viewed from behind.

Why does a mirror reverse images left-to-right but not top-to-bottom.  For example, if you hold a printed page up to the mirror, you'll see the top of the book is still the top, and the bottom is still the bottom, but the left is right and the right is left.  Why?  If you really want to know you can email me but before you do, check your ASSUMPTIONS!

HIDDEN COMPARISONS

I heard a politician once remark that he saved the taxpayers ten million dollars.  How?  Because the original budget proposal was thirty million dollar's higher than last year's.  But the budget this politician just approved was only twenty million dollars higher than last year's!

One of the tricky aspects of this word, "save", is the implicit comparison.  I saved some money, but compared to what?  By making an arbitrary standard of comparison -- the "regular price" -- the amount of savings can be manipulated to be any number.

Here's another one to think about:

"The fireman rushed into the burning house and saved the life of one lucky man."  Forget about whether this man was really lucky -- this was one of the worst days in his life, I'll bet.  Instead, let's see whether this unlucky guy's life was really saved.  It was prolonged, maybe.  But was it saved?

For that matter, if you put a few bucks in a savings account, then withdraw it later, did you ever really save the money?  I say no.  If you say yes, ponder this:  If you withdraw it first, then deposit it later (possible if the savings account has other funds in it or if it has an "overdraft" feature) do you save money when you make the deposit?  If you said yes to the first question and no to this one, then how about this:  While you have an outstanding unsecured loan for $10,000, you deposit $5,000 in a savings account, and continue to make "minimum payments" on the loan.  Did you save $5,000?  What if you had used the money instead to pay down the loan?  Would that have been in instance of saving?