The Power of Polling: A scientific evaluation of the human condition

Putting bean & cheese tacos in their proper place since 2012.

Fight or flight? Is Paul McCartney even alive? Where does Santa really live? How much sausage is too much sausage? We tackle the tough questions around here.

On Easter Sunday, just a few hours after we finished throwing eggs at the neighborhood kids, we had a wickedly close lightning strike that knocked the power out and fried electronics all over the block. Fortunately the power came back on after only an hour or two and I thought we had everything up and running again. I was wrong.

Things seemed normal enough as we awoke Monday morning. I made some pop tarts and chocolate milk for breakfast but everybody was still crying as we headed out the door to attack the day. We put in a full day's work, fought the traffic, picked up the kids, fed 'em a snack, cooked dinner, fed 'em dinner, cleaned up, bathed 'em all, fed 'em a snack, put 'em to bed and then took 'em a snack. Crawled into bed about 11:15 and fell asleep to the soothing coaching techniques of that real mean lady on Dance Moms.

Then the survival test came.

A little after midnight my wife and I were jolted awake by the terrifying sound of our alarm system blaring through the house and all the lights flashing. Both of us jumped out of bed and did what every responsible adult would do in that situation. We immediately ran past all the kid's bedrooms and doors and windows to the control panel and punched in the code to disarm the system.

**** and OFF, alarm still blaring.

**** and OFF, a little harder this time but no luck.

Punch it in harder! **** and OFF. Nothing.

**** and OFF, it's so friggin loud holy crap I have to take a leak.

Luckily the bathroom is only a few steps away so I take a much needed break and return to the control panel as quickly as possible. My wife has disappeared so I guess I'm gonna solve this problem by myself like always.

**** and OFF OFF, twice maybe that's what it needs. No relief.

Punch in the code backwards. That makes no sense but what the hell here goes OFF * * * *, is it getting louder now?

I channel my best Clark Griswald and punch the code again as hard as I can * * * * OFF and the alarm stops. Sweet silence! I did it! We're safe!

My wife rounds the corner with the system battery in her hand. She went into a secret place and ripped it out from the power box coincidentally at the exact same moment that I disarmed the system. Women! Always trying to help when we've clearly got things under control.

We congratulated each other on our good work and headed back to bed, passing the front door and several rooms with windows without even glancing to see if the banditos were hauling away all my TVs and fine china. The thought didn't even cross our minds.

We found out later that the lightning strike had fried the control panel but didn't know it at the time. The battery ran out at midnight on Monday triggering the alarm, which in turn triggered our impressive survival instincts. Our number one priority at that moment wasn't to check on the family or grab a bat or hide in the closet. Our top priority was to turn the alarm off so we could get back to sleep. Obviously our survival instincts could use some work.

It had been at least 15 minutes since the alarm woke us when I finally realized that the house may be under assault by banditos or nihilists and couldn't get back to sleep. I sent my wife to check in our daughter's room, just in case, and fortunately she gave me the "all clear signal."

By "all clear signal" I mean she expressed complete disbelief that I sent her to check on the safety of our children when she returned to the room and "asked" me to hang out in the living room for a little while.

And by "asked" I mean I was told to go to the couch.

So I settled into my temporary castle on the couch and grabbed the laptop to see what everybody's saying about Abby and whether she's way too mean to those dance moms.

Of course as is often the case with the internet I quickly got distracted. I came across a recent poll by PPP that uncovered some interesting conspiracy theories and beliefs permeating the American public. Here are some of the poll's more compelling findings:

Q10 Do you believe aliens exist, or not?

Do ..................................................29%

Do not ............................................47%

Not sure .........................................24%

Q13 Do you believe that shape-shifting reptilian
people control our world by taking on human
form and gaining political power to manipulate
our societies, or not?

Do ....................................................4%

Do not ..............................................88%

Not sure ...........................................7%

Q15 Do you believe in Bigfoot or Sasquatch, or not?

Do ....................................................14%

Do not ..............................................72%

Not sure ...........................................14%

And the best one:

Q19 Do you believe Paul McCartney actually died in
a car crash in 1966 and was secretly replaced
by a lookalike so The Beatles could continue,
or not?

Do .....................................................5%

Do not ...............................................80%

Not sure ............................................14%

There were several other interesting theories covered in the poll and I had two key takeaways after digging into the complete results. First, I'd love to spend at least a day living inside the minds of 5% of the American people. I've never even considered the possibility that Paul McCartney died in 1966 so now my whole world is turned upside down.

Secondly, I needed to commission a poll in my own house to make sure we are normal. I love the structure of the PPP poll (Do you...or not?) because you obviously can't get anymore scientific than that. I'd ask my family a series of questions using the same format. Since there are 5 of us, each vote is worth 20% (math breakdown for the Aggies reading this). Here's what I found:

Q1 Do you really think it makes sense to put your feet on someone's head (like your dad's head) while you sleep because you think it helps keep you warm, or not?

Do........................................40%

Do not..................................40%

Not sure...............................20%

Q2 Do you think you are required to take one bite out of your bean and cheese taco and then rub it into your little bald head at every single meal that you ever eat, or not?

Do........................................20%

Do not..................................60%

Not sure...............................20%

Q3 Do you really believe that you are a Power Ranger. Really? Or not?

Do........................................20%

Do not..................................60%

Not sure...............................20%

Q4 Do you think that "umbrella" should be pronounced "gorilla" and that you ride an "alligator" in tall buildings to get to the top floor and does that even make sense in a civilized society, or not?

Do........................................40%

Do not..................................40%

Not sure...............................20%

Q5 Do you believe that your parents are "being mean" and "aren't your best friend" and "aren't invited to your birthday" if they don't drop everything at a moment's notice to make chocolate milk for you at least 16-18 times per day, or not?

Do........................................60%

Do not..................................40%

Not sure...............................0%

Q6 Do you believe that there is a certain person in this house that is so funny and smart and is probably the patriarch of a future sports/talent/social media/maybe even restaurant or throwback arcade dynasty, or not?

Do........................................20%

Do not..................................80%

Not sure...............................0%

Q7 Do you really think that "doh" means all of the following, or not:

"Yes"

"No"

"I'm hungry"

"Please unbuckle me because I know the car stopped and it's time to get out since there is a slight chance we are at Chuck E Cheeses"

"Oh man I love this song so much"

"I don't always eat bean and cheese tacos, but when I do, I rub them on my head"

Do........................................20%

Do not..................................60%

Not sure...............................20%

Q8 Do you think that if Kliff Kingsbury lived here he would've turned the alarm off sooner and he would've protected his family and he would've made you all feel safe and secure and happy, or not?

Do........................................100% (Keith participated in this question thus skewing the percentages)

Do not..................................20%

Not sure...............................0%

Q9 Do you believe that Santa lives at Bass Pro Shops, or not?

Do........................................40%

Do not..................................60%

Not sure...............................20% (Keith again)

Q10 Do you believe when you say "pretend you didn't see this" that no one in this house can see you picking your nose, or not?

Do........................................20%

Do not..................................60%

Not sure...............................20%

Q11 Do you believe this is too much sausage, or not?

Securedownload-3_medium

Do........................................80%

Do not..................................40% (Oh now you're on my side Keith? Whatever.)

Not sure...............................0%

So as you can see, the results are impressively conclusive. Our little family of five can be as diverse as America herself. We go about our business, two little boys, one daughter, and two exhausted parents, living together in peace and harmony even though we have vastly different opinions and views on virtually every topic. You think you are a Power Ranger? Fine. You're gonna take your gorilla out in the rain? Ok, no problem.

Most importantly though, we realized we are survivors. When push comes to shove around here, damn the banditos. We're sprinting to the control panel to turn off the alarm so we can go back to sleep.

We looked deep inside ourselves and I'm pleased with what we found. We found a family led by parents that overcome the fog of war and find clarity when it matters most. Get that alarm turned off, no matter what else is going on and get back to sleep.

And you'll never convince me that you have to sleep with your feet on my head or you'll freeze. I don't care what the polls say. That's just not scientific.


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