100% Straight Down

There was a time when I gave people credit for not being completely clueless, but more often than not when I did so I ended up disappointed. Today I was disappointed again.


I went to lunch today at the Wendy’s restaurant right around the corner from my office. They’re currently running a promotion for Busch Gardens theme park down in Tampa, Florida, so my tray liner had a picture of their newest roller coaster called SheiKra, and there was a $10-off coupon that came with my lunch.

I was dining alone today, so I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation of the two uncouth hillbillies southern gentlemen sitting directly behind me. They were reading the french-fry-grease-stained tray liner under their lunch droppings and expressing just how scary the ride looked.

Next to the image of the coaster was the tagline, “90° DOWN, NO FLOOR.” Thrilling, no doubt. Their conversation went something like this:

REDNECK #1: “Man, SheiKra, huh?”

REDNECK #2: “Yep.”

REDNECK #1: “Says ninety duh-grees down, no floor.”

REDNECK #2: “Yep.”

REDNECK #1: “Hell, that’s just ten duh-grees away from being straight down.”

REDNECK #2: “Yep. A hunnerd duh-grees is like a free-fall.”

Now, if you’re not already laughing, or at least rolling your eyes, then this story, and perhaps this entire blog, may not be for you.

If I correctly recall my junior high geometry, ninety degrees (or “duh-grees” as my dining companions would say) is straight down, and equivalent to a free-fall, assuming there is no crosswind.

I can see the confusion between degrees and percent, I suppose, but what the hell would “100% DOWN” really mean? Have you ever tripped and fallen just 93% down? I’m pretty sure the point of the ad is to express that SheiKra does indeed go straight down, and that’s what 90° is — it’s a right angle with the earth and is straight down.

Technically, a hunnerd duh-grees is starting to fall back up again just slightly, isn’t it?

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