Our story takes us back to the founding of the United States, when it was nothing more than a newborn nation without a proper system of measurement.
A five-stick tall man was shorter than a four-stick tall man because they were using different sticks.
The only way of measuring distance was saying something was “a stone’s throw away,” which resulted in far too many injuries.
And, somehow, a cow was equal to a handful of magic beans.
It was fucking pandemonium.
But everything changed one crisp autumn afternoon. Ben Franklin was sitting in Independence Hall, listening to politicians drone on about bills and laws and bear arms, when one of them posed a rather interesting problem: “We need to set the distance from a school where it’s legal to sell drugs. Because safety is important and all, but business is business.” Now, this piqued Franklin’s interest, and he was about to offer a solution that would change the world forever.
“What about 1000 feet?” Franklin said.
The room was so silent, you could hear a pen drop, which was super impressive because back then they used those feather pens, and those suckers were light.
Then, one brave soul spoke up, “What kind of sick fuck are you, thinking about feet all the time? That’s just weird, man. Feet are nasty.”
Franklin’s face turned a deep shade of scarlet. He had always been ashamed about his attraction to feet, and he lived in constant fear that someone would out him for it. Now, his worst nightmare had finally come to life.
“I was just looking at my feet — I swear — and I thought maybe I could just use them to measure,” he said, praying they would believe him.
Another politician spoke up, “Keep going, maybe we’ve got something here.”
“Yeah, yeah, okay, great. Well, my front yard is about three of my feet wide,” Franklin said, his confidence building. “So why don’t we call three feet a ‘yard’?”
“Man, you’ve got a really small yard,” another legislator said. “You’re pretty poor, aren’t you?”
“Yeah, well, I’m trying to get rich in the measurement game, so this is kind of my big shot,” Franklin replied. “While I’m at it, here’s another: A spoon that holds the perfect amount of sugar for tea should be called a ‘teaspoon?’”
The room erupted in applause.
“And a spoon that puts the perfect amount of wood in a table, we can call it a ‘tablespoon.’”
Everyone stood and cheered.
Foot Fetish Franklin was really rolling now. “We also need to figure out units of drinking, so we need a standard size for a cup, and the bigger the better I say, amirite, assholes? So one cup is gonna be a ‘Big Gulp.’”
This was actually a unit of measurement paid for by the 7-Eleven lobby and their “Fill Up Your Own Cup” promotion, but everyone still stood in awe of his genius.
By day’s end, Franklin had defined the entire US Standard Measurement System.
Strolling home, he smiled to himself, remembering his most ridiculous unit of measurement of them all, horsepower.
“How the hell do you quantify a horse?” he chuckled.
Back at his condo, exhausted but proud of his work, he flicked off his buckled shoes and celebrated with a big gulp of table, a yard of tea, and the latest issue of Feet Illustrated.