Monday, March 13, 2006

Tattistics: the Tatti Discount Factor (TDF)

One good way of being able to spread your influence amongst loved ones and enemies is making phrases and words that are catchy and other people use.

One of my bestest ones was "SIGs," an acronym standing for Shady Indian Guys. I made this one up upon arriving in NY after college and everytime my fellow brown peeps and I would go out you always see the sketchy Indian guys who wear all black and act thugged out. The reality is that I can't imagine any other ethnic group scared of an Indian gang. As a result Indian guys at a party will always (and invariably) start a fight with another group of Indian guys. This is a desi social rule. Every party must end early because a drunken belligerent crew of SIGs (usually with the awkward short member too) doesn't like the way someone else was looking at their leather jackets. Inconceivably in the mix there is always one desi girl yelling on the side because her dearest Romeo, or rather Rahul, is about to get his face turned into the insides of a samosa. (check out that visual poetry Shashi Tharoor, I'm biting at your heels as far as great modern Indian writers go)

But I don't need to tell you something you probably already know. My newest stroke of genius is the Tatti Discount Factor (TDF). Tatti, as you'll all recall from my earlier posting means shit. Anyone who practices any sorta modeling or statistical application will tell you that the best models are ones that either describe common things you observe in the world around you or provide results which seem intuitively correct but hadn't really been articulated before. That's what the TDF seeks to do.

Dumb people do dumb things. That what friends are for. If no one ever did dumb things there would be little to talk about in the world except competitive curling and Kant's "veil of ignorance" that he promoted with respect to the concept of the categorial imperative. In short, life would be boring, unless you subscribe to Aristotle's notion that there is an Ends to every action that is ultimately selfish in some ways and hence a boring life is just leading you to an existence for your own promotion of glory. Exciting, aye? Of course Thomas Hobbes would just say "Bah humbug, life is short, nasty and brutish, biaaatches."

But I digress.

Dumb people do dumb things, and at some point a really weird person doing something mildly unexpected isn't as crazy as a serious person having a brief lapse of stupidity. It's all relative. Hence each person you/we know has their own Tatti Discount Factor or TDF.

This is the span of a whole new array of math and sciences.
This is Tattistics.

For example, my friend Amit who is globetrotting for the next 6 months (http://sinhatravel.com/blog) has a big screen TV at home which he never uses. Instead he "reads". Whatever. Now I found out that during his trip he's been using his iPod to watch episodes of Lost. He may be the only person who prefers a 2-inch screen versus a 42-inch one.

Wacky? Yes.
Uncanny for Amit? No.

The reality is that Amit has a pretty high TDF. One of the highest ones out there. On a scale of 100, he may be in the high 80s. I like to take pride in myself that I'm in the low 40s. Maybe even 39. Is this just a case of an author (me) taking liberties to make himself look cooler in front of the adoring masses (you) in the absence of a forum that provides for a true rebuttal? Of course not, that would just be uncouth.

So I encourage you, find a friend or loved one, and practice this Tattistics in real life. Give them their own TDF. It's fun. Everyone is doing it. In fact if people were rated by Zagats, like restaurants are, one of the scales that they should judge people on would include their TDF.

For example:

"Shekhar Karnik [TDF: 39]
- Comfortable in large groups, but just as suitable for smaller gatherings. Reservations in advance are recommended, but not vital. Dress is smart, but casual. Beware of loud music. Goofy, but not crazy in the head from a medical perspective."

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