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America Will NEVER Switch to the Metric System

Rochelle Frank wrote humorous bits for her college newspaper many years ago. Her funny observations have continued in print and online.


Are We Doomed?

Despite dire predictions that the U. S. is economically and scientifically doomed because we cannot get metric ideas like Celsius and milligram into our heads, in everyday life we are doing okay with our standard customary weights and measures .

Americans have given up on metrication because we are unwilling to learn a new mathematical system and because if we did convert, only pharmacists and some auto mechanics would be able to understand weights, measurements and other metrical quantifications.

Fortunately, forefathers of the USA established a decimal based currency system -- based on ten -- based on the number of fingers most people have.

While freeing us from British political tyranny, they also avoided the maddening tyranny of reckoning with shillings, pounds, farthings, guineas, sovereigns, tuppences and an occasional bob, which confused even the British themselves for centuries.


Decimalization makes sense -- or cents -- for currency. Most Brits, who revere tradition and who have some resentment towards metrication of traditional measurements, even admit that finally making the pound equal to 100 pence was a positive, or more specifically, a "jolly good" idea .

They did keep their customary pound instead of adopting the Euro. This was partly a deliberate effort to confuse Americans who still think "pound" is a unit of weight rather than of currency. Obviously, they are still ticked off about that revolution thing.

While our forefathers did the right thing for currency, they retained the old system of weights and measurements based on the kings girdle, his shoe size and the amount of ale he could drink before falling off the throne. I was never sure if these official measurements changed with the coronation of a new ruler or if the new ruler just adopted the measurements and inherited the tankards, girdles and shoes of the old ruler. If true, this would explain some of the funny shoes worn by kings who succeeded queens.


" I am not a size 38"

Speaking of shoes: One of the real reasons that we resist metric measurement is that women refuse to suddenly go from a size 7 shoe to a metric size 38. There is also no way to get American women to increase vital bodily measurements to metric. None are willing to instantly increase waist measurements to a number which seems to represent dimensions of extinct sea mammal species.

Metric weights , on the other hand, might have some appeal. Replacing a standard bathroom scale with a metric version can change a weight of about 159 lbs to a svelte sounding 72 kilograms.

If we were to adopt the systems used by 98 percent of the civilized world we would be on the slippery slope leading to the institution of metric time telling. Each day would be divided into 100 equal hours instead of 24, each hour would be worth 14.4 non-metric minutes You could work 40 metric hours per week which would equal about 9.6 old hours and still have six days a week left to get into mischief. Lunch hours would be so short that indigestion would be rampant.

Eight hours of sleep would take a little less than less than two old-style hours resulting in severe sleep deprivation. People would watch four times as many hour long television programs per day these would all have to be shown in fast-forward speed. but at least people would stop saying "There just aren't enough hours in the day".

Metric Rap

Confusing Days Indeed!

The calendar would have to be adjusted into to a ten month system by eliminating a couple of months like March and September when nothing much happens anyway, and adding about 6 days days to remaining months. Think of how nice it would be to have those extra days just before the holidays. Monthly bills would be larger but you would only pay them 10 times a year instead of 12.

Some of the beloved holidays like Ground Hog's Day, National Pickle Week, Shamu's Birthday and Hug Your Cat Day would be eliminated. Your cat doesn't want to be hugged anyway, but some of the more important holidays like National Professional Pet Sitter's day might be moved into one of the extra days of the next month.

People would also have to stop saying "a pint's a pound the world around". Come to think of it, I think they have already stopped saying that.

Expressions like "give him a foot and he'll take a mile" would have to be changed to give him 304.8 millimeters and he'll take a .a whole bunch of meters, and probably no one would ever say that unless you were talking to a pharmacist or car mechanic.

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The metric system is OK when you are measuring infinitesimal or astronomical things, but for everyday use the familiar friendly and customary measurements like cups and teaspoons and yards and inches are easier to visualize and comprehend for Americans.

It was probably a mistake to mix standard and metric units when doing calculations for NASA's Mars Observer some years back. It crashed into the planet due to a measurement miscalculation. They weren't baking a cake, after all. Scientists are supposed to know better-- or at least have the good sense to be European.

Now that many European countries (not the UK) have converted their varied currencies to the euro. You can no longer have the heart stopping thrill of being presented with a bill for 947,000 lira for a crusty cheese roll and a glass of vino in Italy. Thankfully, in previous years you were usually able to resume normal cardiac function when you realized that the bill was only the equivalent of a couple of bucks.

Measurements of food quantities in markets and recipes would take a lot of getting used to. When I was a child my mom used to send me to the corner butcher shop for a "pound of ground round". I always thought that had a nice lilting ring to it which could be skipped to, unlike a whole bunch of kg of ground round.

Metric measurement is an affront and an inconvenience to Americans who cook,. It's a thinly disguised attempt to get us to buy European kitchen implements. It doesn't help much to tell us that a gram is about equal to the weight of a raisin. When there is a recipe calling for 350 grams of raisins.. how much time do you think it takes to count that many?

Hogsheads were probably always inconvenient and messy to measure with, whether attached to the hog or not.

See how many countries use Imperial  or customary measurement? Let's see, there's Burma, Liberia, USA and...

See how many countries use Imperial or customary measurement? Let's see, there's Burma, Liberia, USA and...

This Changes Everything

One of the more difficult parts of metrication would be changing some of our familiar expressions. Things like "Tons of fun" would become .several hundred kilograms of fun, and somehow that doesn't sound like nearly as much fun. A pounding headache would become a kilogramming headache.

Footprints would become centimeter prints. Inchworms will have to be called 25.4 millimeter worms. Centipedes would become -- no, I guess they would stay centipedes.Taxpayers will no longer foot the bill for political schemes; they will centimeter or perhaps decimeter the bill, which gives the misleading impression of being much less significant.We haven't done away with Auld Lang Syne, just because half of the words are incomprehensible; they are still comfortable and friendly And as for that "cup of kindness", it just isn't the same in fractions of a liter.


Despite my efforts to make it obvious, I have had a number of comments that have aimed creative insults at my lack of intelligence regarding the metric system.

Let me assure you that I am poking fun at the American reluctance to change their ways of measuring and weighing, and think that metrics are a jolly good idea for all of us.


Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 18, 2014:

That does sound confusing. I hadn't heard about the pennies and the polymer. You should write a hub about the effects of the changes. The US has talked about taking away pennies for years, since they cost more than their face value to produce, but Americans LOVE their pennies. Thanks for commenting, Carol Houle.

Carol Houle from Montreal on October 16, 2014:

I still have a problem with the mix decades later. Up here in Montreal everything is metric, imperial, French, English and 4 other "main" languages. I'm never sure of what I'm getting for my money, as are most people. So they recently took away the Canadian penny and now together with the metric mix we don't know what's going on, except that our money is polymer and won't stay in our wallets. It literally pops back out.

pramodgokhale from Pune( India) on October 11, 2014:


I am an Indian and proud to have metric system in operation in our country. Our government in 1960 quickly adapted system to existing system and converted within decade successfully.Now on Indian rupee is equal to 100 Paisa. or earlier it was called 16 Annas

Our technical institutes had done great job in conversion and metric system is doing fine with artisans who do their jobs.


Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 21, 2014:

Yes. Metric has not been mandated, but Many areas of the US society has been using it for years. Thanks for your comments.

Spinifex Treacle on September 21, 2014:

Non-metric Americans (and I realize not all Americans are ignorant of metric weights and measures: many Americans use metric units because their jobs require them to do so; metric is widely used throughout U.S. government administration, commerce, industry, and science, and has been for decades, even generations) can start by boning up on metric here:

Spinifex Treacle on September 21, 2014:

Take it from someone who can think in and use either the metric or imperial (or: Customary) systems of weights and measures, metric is far better! Even if Americans want to keep using Customary weights and measures in the U.S., they are going to have to learn metric if they ever travel outside the U.S. The rest of the world is most certainly not going to change its very useful and easy-to-use system of weights and measures just to accommodate American idiosyncrasies.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 15, 2014:

Very interesting! Thanks for reading, and yes I was poking a little fun at my fellow Americans.Perhaps one day we will all be on the same page.

cyp on September 15, 2014:

Very interesting article, although I hope you meant as a joke the whole hour thing. The reason the whole metric system was designed (artificially how some like to point out) was because there were a lot of systems. Originally systems were based on body sizes, size of a step, a foot, elbow, etc. But people are very different so a lot of confusions and fraud appeared. As a result each country created their own standard measures based on the old measures. Now inside a country you would have the same system, but when trading with other countries the same problem appeared. So in the end after much discussions the metric system was devised to provide a common measuring system for weight, speed, length, volum. Unlike those there was little divergence on how a day was measured. The 24 hour/60minutes system was universally accepted and stayed if I am not mistaken from the time of the babylonians. The months system on the other hand suffered a lot of changes to better match what we now call the astronomical year. Many people have many types of years, some had years that in time varied greatly as number of days. also the week consisting of seven days is a very old concept.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 03, 2014:

I recently heard a rumor that Myanmar is preparing to adopt the Metric system, leaving USA and Liberia as the only two countries failing to metricate. Now if we can get Liberia to switch, we will have our exceptional system all to ourselves.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 22, 2014:

I admire your mathematical dexterity in converting your mind to metrics thinking, but I understand the idea that certain things are hard to visualize. Thanks for reading, Susanna !

Susanna Duffy from Melbourne Australia on August 22, 2014:

I grew up very comfortably with pounds, shillings and pence (not to forget deenas, zacs and trays) and cheerfully strode out a rod, pole, perch or two in our backyard. Times change. Metrics arrived. It took me only a few months to be at ease with the money, the temperature and the cooking ingredients.

But to this day I still don't know, when someone is described as being X centimetres tall and Y kilos in weight, if they're short and fat or tall and skinny.

jason on August 08, 2014:

If the whole world converts to the English language then we shall convert 100% to the metric system.

Just do it on June 11, 2014:

Just convert already, stop finding excuses and convert!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on March 29, 2014:

Very cheeky comment, girl. But I'm glad you got the point. So many people reading this hub just call me an idiot amd don't consider the point I'm putting forth.

Cassandra Mantis from UK and Nerujenia on March 26, 2014:

Think of all the building and construction projects that can never go ahead and the cross-platform, or multi-jurisdictional events that cannot go ahead due to wrong or different systems of counting. It's like still having windows 95 on your PC or something.

If we cannot unify our numbers and units of measure, then we cannot function with countries that don't measure up. Oops! I just made a joke?

I understand the satirical slant and well done on bringing an interesting subject to the fore, in a good humored way, as it badly needs more publicity and debate.

Great hub, Rochelle!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on June 04, 2012:

No offense taken.... especially since you are right.

You are welcome to comment on any of my articles.

Ms. Emmanuelle on June 04, 2012:

I do apologise that if I had come on rather strong and was in no way trying to offend anyone or cause any problems.

I do realise though that yes it will take time and yes you are right that there is a cost involved and that you Americans are very accepting of foreigners.

In the future while posting comments, I will not come on so strong.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on June 04, 2012:

I hope you realize that I am poking a little fun at my fellow Americans and I do agree it would be better, on the whole, to use metric measurements.

I'm a little surprised at the comments you encountered. In my experience, Americans are very accepting of "foreigners", especially since almost all of us have ancestors who came from another country. I do agree that it would involve some expense.

The truth is, of course, that we are adapting in a slow and steady way especially in the areas of science and also in manufacturing.

I appreciate your comments and point of view.

Ms. Emmanulle on June 04, 2012:

In my last comment (rather lengthy and I do apologise), on the last line I had typed- though a person is entitled to their on opinion. It should say - though a person is entitled to their own opinion.

Ms. Emmanuelle on June 04, 2012:

From a person who was educated in using Le Système international d'unités (The Metric System),I have never been able to comprehend or let alone try to memorise the weights and measures used in the United States.

Its my personal conviction that the so called inch-pound system/customary measurements is completely confusing and often wondered why people would choose to use an outdated and a complex system.Instead of a system that is an international standard, a system that is simple to learn,it's modern, no conversion involved, its fair and impartial and everyone and anyone can use it.

Just a few more things before I sign off. Before I found this website, During my visit to New York City, I had had asked several people what their thoughts where if the the U.S. Government was going officially convert to the metric system; here's what people had said:

-it would be UN-American and unpatriotic

-the metric system is not part of the American heritage

-if you use a foreign system then you are not an true American and that you foreign born

-its a foreign system because it is not an American invention

-it would cause havoc on the economy

-companies would have to spend millions of dollars to retool the machines/equipment, educate employees and;

-it would promote waste

I'm sorry Rochelle I do not understand how a system of weight or measures determines someones citizenship and I certainly do not buy any of the responses given to me as a valid defense to not convert,though a person is entitled to their on opinion.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on May 10, 2012:

The humor is apparently too weak for many people, but I'm glad you posted your information. Other people have mentioned the metric ton, and I am extremely relieved to hear that "tons of fun" will remain with us. Fun is important, even in small quantities.


ChrisDK on May 10, 2012:

okay so before i mention anything i just wanna say that what i write here may just be a result of internethumor avoiding me.

tons of fun would still be tons of fun as a Ton = 1000 kilograms (kg.) 1000gram = 1kg. 1000kg = 1Ton.

And this pretty much goes for the rest of the things said in the section "This changes everything"

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on April 13, 2012:

I think we agree. Thanks again.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on April 13, 2012:

Thank you, SteveinAus. I am pleased that you thought it amusing. I agree that we should get on with it, and that has actually happened in many areas of commerce, business and --of course-- science.

It's the common everyday usage that is lagging. People who cook, I think, are the most likely to be reluctant.

SteveinAus on April 12, 2012:

By the way, it doesn't mean you'll have to change everything, as some things will just make more sense to keep as they are, but you'll get a lot of benefits from changing a lot of things, especially economically, in the long run, as we and so many other countries have done successfully.

SteveinAus on April 11, 2012:

Very interesting and amusing read (including the comments). Here in Australia I've grown up with the metric system and I'm so glad we have as it is SOOOOOOO easy to use.

I just read up on when Australia made the switch, in the 1970's and apparently it was a relative piece of cake, in spite of what many thought. You really ought to do it already in the US. You'll never regret it if you do. You're at an economic disadvantage until you do, so the sooner you just bite the bullet and get it done the better. Like a band-aid, right off! No-one else cares if you do it or don't do it, so you really ought to just get on with it as the reasons for doing it surely far outweigh the reasons for not doing it.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on March 21, 2012:

That could be a whole new article.

Earthling on March 21, 2012:

I'm really surprised that the author didn't mention converting from Fahrenheit to Celsius as part of the metric deal.

That really would blow a few minds on the other side of the pond.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on March 13, 2012:

I suspected as much.

tz on March 13, 2012:

This is funny! I am a scientist and my brother is a mechanical and electrical engineer. Every American in science and engineering uses the Metric system exclusively.

Spinifex Treacle on March 09, 2012:

As an Australian that was brought up on the British Imperial system of weights and measures, and then taught metric weights and measures in high school, I can say unequivocally that I prefer metric, even if Imperial is the more familiar of the two systems. If I were in the US, I would still prefer using metric. And if I were pulled up by a cop or asked by a bureaucrat what my height and weight were, I would answer in metric: 1.88 m or 188 cm and 96.4 kg. They can do the conversions to Customary units, I won't.

Spinifex Treacle on March 09, 2012:

Read this account of the epic encounter between Mean Mr. Metric & Igor Imperial. It's hilarious.

Areyve on March 08, 2012:

Obviously this is a bunch of bs.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on March 04, 2012:

Yes, variety is spicy-- though I have never seen an inch divided into 14ths. That would be confusing. In almost all areas of science and industry, USA is already using metrics. As far as multiples of 10, of course , our monetary system was ahead of the times. Weights and measures just didn't follow along, unfortunately.

Mažvydas on March 04, 2012:

I really can't see advantages of English system. It's quite simple miles, feet, inches, pounds approx. convert into metric system in my minds. But there is another thing: science. Most of conversions give small mistakes. It doesn't make influence in our daily life but it's important in (for ex.) engineering.

Just example: If I needed to make exact 523,68 grams weight jet engine blade, I couldn't use American companies services because they would make too big inaccuracy with their English system. It's the same with telescope mirrors,engines, satellites, space industry and so on.

I am convinced that most Americans even didn't try to understand metric system. All you have to know is to multiply by 10.

There is no doubts that America can't change their system in one day. It can take 5 or 10 or even 20 years. But agree with me: it looks quite insane when you see such things at the shop: 13/16 inch drill. I takes a bit time to calculate it in minds. And do you really know what is more 13/18 or 11/14 ?

But I don't want to say that Americans must change this. The world is more interesting when it is different. Good Luck !

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on March 01, 2012:

I appreciate that you enjoy our "quaintness". We usually reserve that term to the other English-speaking countries... though austraila is sometimes exempt.

Yes, the amusement factor is important, as well. and as far as dividing by 12 and 16-- well it's just another way of looking at fractional quantities. Dividing by 10 or 100 is a cinch, but sometimes you need only 1/3 or 1/6 of something. There are dozens of instances.

Loved your comment. Thanks, my cup runneth over.

Boojum on February 29, 2012:

Please please don't convert. I went to school in Australia during the switch over from Imperial to the Metric system (1970-1988). So I needed to learn how to convert between systems and for a while did. My kids could not use inches any more that I could use Apothecary Scruples. Now usage comes naturally and I don't even remember how may inches there are to a mile or chains to a furlong or figits to a jockstrap. (counting in Base 12 and 16 is so natural isn't it) Please in these dark times don't change over to metric we need something to keep us amused (see above mars orbiter debacle). You guys are so quaint.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 22, 2012:

Thank you, thank you. Thank you for understanding.

You have no idea how many people have called me an idiot and worse just because they can't understand that I might be mocking my own countrymen -or countrypeople. Thank you, again.

Manonymous on February 22, 2012:

You are so funny, is this a joke? By pounding headache, they mean it is pounding your head. The metricated countries say that too. Yea, just figured out how it really is a joke

Nelson on February 21, 2012:

All I have to say is: Take a look at this

And then we start talking...

Spinifex Treacle on February 02, 2012:

@Metric Gurl 1973 That's the spirit. While the USA is not an officially metric country, it is legal to use metric. You are under no legal obligation to use Customary weights and measures. It might be hard for other Americans to understand you when you speak to them in metric, but hey, that's their problem. They can always learn metric.

Spinifex Treacle on February 02, 2012:

Ok, so the good old USA doesn't convert to metric. Nothing wrong in using the old Customary weights and measures. Actually it gives metricated countries an edge in exporting goods--no conversions, no dual net weights displayed. The US is still the world's biggest economy and it would take ages to convert to metric; on the other hand, China is already a metric country and it doesn't have to go through the mess of metric conversion and it is rapidly expanding. Perhaps it will be a metric Chinese century.

Conor on February 02, 2012:

Its pretty common to talk about a ton here (NZ), as meaning 1000kg. Tonne is correct though.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on January 26, 2012:

See, we are all learning. I guess, then, that since a ton is a bit more than a tonne-- we SHOULD be saying "tons of fun".

Richard on January 25, 2012:

oh , just to clarify matters here - ' tons ' and ' tonnes ' ARE different but not by a huge amount . By my calculations a ' ton ' is near enough 1,016 KG . Not much in itself but in large quantities the difference adds up. Cheers !

Richard on January 25, 2012:

@ Schmui - " a ton is 1000 kg and metric unit . Duh " erm , not quite ! A ' ton ' is 2240 lbs / 160 stone / 20 hundredweight (CWT - an old imperial measurement) ; A ' tonne ' is 1,000 kg . Slight difference in spelling you might think but , no , they are different things.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on January 18, 2012:

USA is adopting metric, but as I said, it has not been a priority. The change will be gradual and confusion will continue to reign for some time to come.

sci on January 14, 2012:

Gosh, I am an engineer (aviation to be more specific), the existence of imperial measure is such a pain in the ass and my company wasted millions of dollars in order to keep up with two system.

Not to mention, there are several big accidents and other numerous small errors involved in aviation industry,at least 2 planes lost due to some imperial tards forgot to label their shxt in proper unit (assuming everyone else was imperial is stupid), and NASA mars orbiter lost due to one idiotic thruster rocket company submitted data in lb/ft instead of newton.

Stupid general Americans who had ever thought about "oh, conversion is hard for me " should really feel our pains in our industry, and so to speak, most engineering society really really hates imperial measures, and tedious massive conversion tables are everywhere, we even have to come with a protocol for unit of conversion check and extra staffs. Next time, you are complaining why your cars, furnace, washer machine, airplane ticket hasn't got any cheaper than it should've been, blame yourselves for being stubborn!

Americans, if next time you were boarding a plane, plz pray that the fuel guy isn't reading fuels in gallon otherwise your plane was designated to plunge somewhere in midair, it had happened once, and if Imperial measures isn't eliminated completely, it will happen again, I promise you.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on January 10, 2012:

Yes, you are right. Imperial is slightly different from the American system. Changing doesn't seem to be a priority. Seems odd, considering the many years that the US led in innovation and manufacturing of scientific and technical products. I would say we actually have a dual system now with many manufacturers using both. As far as consumers go, we are in a rut.

Conor on January 09, 2012:

Ha I live in New Zealand and have never learned the imperial system (imperial, as in within the British empire, was standardised after America left the empire, which is why some measues are different), but I still think of my height as 6' and cant really visualise height by metric. Weird considering I'm an electrician and do nothing but measurements in mm every day. Funny how the mind works. I have to have imperial tool etc, mostly for the odd american made machine etc. although this seems to be less and less. Switch to metric already! lol

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on January 07, 2012:

That's good to know.

Peter on January 07, 2012:

Tons of fun still be tons of fun because in metric system a ton is the same as 1000kg ..

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on December 29, 2011:

Thanks, I appreciate the comment, Schmul. You have educated me.

Also, I only strive to be a little amusing, and am rarely convincing.

schmui on December 29, 2011:

"Things like "Tons of fun" would become .several hundred kilograms of fun, and somehow that doesn't sound like nearly as much fun"

a ton is 1000kg and metric unit.


the rest of the article is a little amusing but not convincing at all.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on November 16, 2011:

Hi, Rich! I hate being sarcastic-- and I don't think I was. Just tellin' it like it is. And I don't think there is anything to be proud or ashamed about. As for not being able to change, I don't know. A lot of things have changed since we first became a nation, sometimes for worse, often for better.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on November 16, 2011:

beelzedug-- thanks for commenting. About the 6 ft 2 reference, I had a neighbor who was 6 ft 6, a retired cop, but he always described himself as 5 ft 18.

RICH on November 16, 2011:

I wish this article wan't so sarcastic...I have a genuine affection for the US system and it's history, and we will never change. I am proud of that.

beelzedug on November 16, 2011:

rochelle i love that you're a frank and your daughter in law was a nickel. i went to school with a girl named penny nickels we used to say she had a six cents. i also loved moneris' cup of marijuana! when i'm in australia a friend of mine says he's six foot two; way sexier he contends than 188 centimeters. and any fan of the british show "top gear" and i know it's pretty popular in the whole of the english speaking world, has never heard those guys talk about kilometers, regarding speed or distance. nothing wrong with knowing both but as for standards metric is the way to go. oh and btw rochelle it's 14 degrees celsius out today in new york city; which is cool but unseasonable warm! lol.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on November 14, 2011:

Though my purpose in this hub was to give a gentle nudge toward metrification-- I think it really is happening slowly and naturally.

I really like your picture of celsius temperature reading-- very sensible.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 30, 2011:

Sarah-- I totally agree with you.

A decimal based system is so much easier to compute. I'm sure you realized I was poking a bit of fun at my own country for being so "normal".

Thank you for commenting and making my point a little clearer.

Sarah on October 30, 2011:

The standard system is actually really confusing! So, no, I don't agree with this. If we switched, students would pick up the system much better than the standard, because they're just multiplying by 10 each time, instead of 12 and 3 and 5280 ect. And the last section is just plain wrong- ex. A pounding heading- pounding as in pounding with a hammer pounding! And metrics do not include money, therefore switching wouldn't affect our money system. Many things in government already use metric, like medicines. I personally think we should switch, but that's just my opinion.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 18, 2011:

OK-- I can't wait until we are all having fun with it. Hope it will be soon.

Alonso on October 18, 2011:

My whole life i've been using metric system and i love it. Much simpler and logic... BTW in metric system a ton=1000 kilograms. It is a lot of fun.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 03, 2011:

Thanks, I appreciate the comment.

dolly on October 03, 2011:

I don't understand why some people are SO resistant/stubborn to changes, especially metrication. Even fools can multiply 10 without using much brain, but it takes a genius to convert 160 feet into inches.

Some argue that despite metric system being simpler at calculation, they refuse to change becoz they are getting used to the old system and change is hard.

I disagree, becoz I got two 3 living examples here:

Both my parents were born in the 50's China where metric system was still being introduced. The old Chinese measuring system is hexadecimal, but they adopted metrics pretty fast and almost without difficulties. Not to mention it was in their later 20's which happened.

Myself, came to U.S in my early 20s adopted to this *stupid* inch, feet, mile thingy pretty quickly. Within 1 month, I can drive on the US highway and converting miles into KM in blink of seconds.

If my family can do this, so could average Americans, not to mention metrics are much easier to learn. If you think it's too hard/refuse to change, either your r stubborn or too stupid...

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 16, 2011:

Thanks for commenting, leaving you. You don't have to prove a point and you can feel free to doubt my intelligence if you don't understand my humour.

I do, however, comprehend what makes the metric system 'consistant', accurate and plain old functional and I don't believe the imperial system is better or that the rest of the world is wrong. Some of my other comments reflect this.

The US, in fact, does use the metric system in many areas, but has not made much progress in discouraging the "US customary units" in everyday use-- which it should do.

By the way, the US doesn't use the imperial system, The imperial system was updated in 1824 in the UK, after American independence, so "US Customary" is older than imperial and has slight differences.

Leaving you in the dust on September 16, 2011:

I'm not going to go into a longwinded explanation to try and prove a point but frankly I highly doubt your intelligence or definitely don't understand your humour. Most of you "comparisons" were not even close to correct. You may not comprehend what makes the metric system consistant, accurate and plain old functional but that doesn't make the imperial system better unless you believe that the rest of the world is wrong.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 08, 2011:

Thank you, Carrie MJ. I'm glad you took it in the spirit it was offered.

Carrie MJ from Missouri on August 08, 2011:

This was so funny and inspirational to me. I voted you up, and I'll be following. :) I just joined hub pages and wrote my very first hub today. Let me know if you have any tips!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 02, 2011:

Thank you, Pintoman. That's one way to look at it. I like your positive attitude.

Pintoman on August 01, 2011:

It's a good sign Americans are still mostly independent minded.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on July 20, 2011:

Thanks for commenting, Jimmy. I noticed that you use American standard measurement terms in at least some of your hubs.

Jimmy Evola from Australia on July 20, 2011:

I don'tknow how you work anything out without the metric system, great writing though

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on May 23, 2011:

Yes, quaint would apply. Though US customary units are related to Imperial they are somewhat different. Our system developed from English units in use before the imperial standardization in 1824,there are several numerical differences. So they would be closer to the colonial system.

Neil on May 22, 2011:

Lets face it, the Americans want to hold onto their colonial past with the use of Imperial measurements, how quaint ;-)

Zach on February 06, 2011:


It's to no advantage at all if we use two systems since we're the ONLY ones using our system! What can the US customary system do that metric cannot?

Zed on January 30, 2011:

Well let's look at it like this, English is the de facto language of science because most scientific articles and records are in English already (plus it is the dominant language of the internet and is the most widely taught language in schools); therefore, according to the worlds standard idea that 'the majority is always right' and their obsessive need for cultural cleansing for the sake of globalization, then I logically think the world should have a full out movement to rid the world of all languages except English. And as a bonus that means only one writing system; therefore eliminating more "arbitrary," "nonsensical," "illogical" and even "archaic" writing systems such as Chinese. Any country that shows resistance or wants compromise should be mocked because they are "just trying to be defiant." Many people in the world are already pros at this since they practice on the U.S. with this S.I. movement. In reality, languages are a greater conceptual barrier than measurements ever will be. Besides, one language and one writing system will make science class even easier for everyone!

P.S. It's funny how people badger the U.S.A. about metrification despite the fact that Americans choose to use BOTH systems and, frankly, I think it is more of an advantage to know both than to just know one (same thing with languages). Plus, it shows great ignorance when people think the term "not officially adopt" means "does not use at all" or on the flip-side that "officially uses" means "only uses."

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on December 13, 2010:

Thanks, WestOcean. Never understood how someone could get a handle on the olde English coinage. It all seemed so mismatched.

WestOcean from Great Britain on December 13, 2010:

Uniformity has its uses, but diversity is so much more interesting. Long may America keep its own system. PS. That new-fangled metric currency thing... it's a slippery slope. Nowt wrong with Farthings, Shillings and the good old Groat :-)

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on December 13, 2010:

It's always easier to go with what we have become accustomed to. Metric is certainly superior for microscopic and astronomical things, but cooks are most likely to use what the can visualize after years of working with particular measurements.

From traveling to Canada, years ago I learned that the Imperial gallon is different (bigger, I think), than the American version of the gallon.

Rob T on December 12, 2010:

Yes, its true that we in the UK use both Metric and Imperial measurements. By this I don't mean that everyone knows everything that's possible to measure in both systems, but that we tend to use metric measurements for some things and imperial for others.

For example, I think in Celsius for temperature as I can't get my head around Fahrenheit, but when it comes to distances or height, I use miles and feet rather than kilometres and metres.....this is really bizarre I know but this is the way its turned out in the UK - a nation that has a foot in both camps so to speak, but who can't decide which one to join outright. I guess its another example of us acting as a 'bridge' between America and mainland Europe??

Alot of adults are the same over here in the UK, they use metric for some measurements and imperial for others. It's stupid really as we must be the only nation that uses both. We haven't yet fully converted to metric measurements as we seem to be too wedded to the old imperial system at the same time.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 08, 2010:

Thanks, Tonymac04. I have never heard it called Imperial here-- just American gallons pints, etc. When we visited Canada years ago, I can recall my Dad buying gasoline (petrol) in Imperial gallons, which I believe were a little larger than ours. Also the Canadian dollar was worth a bit less than ours at that time, so it was hard for him to tell what he was paying for fuel.

I'm going to have to go check my Tupperware, now.

Tony McGregor from South Africa on October 08, 2010:

Yeah the States should wake up to the benefits of metrication. At least then they would make Tupperware that we could use! LOL! The Tupperware stuff seems all to be Imperial (do you guys over there still like that British connection? Really?) so when we buy cereal in metric packs the cereal is either too little for the large size Tupperware or too big for the smaller size.

Just kidding, great Hub with some really funny examples.

Although I learned Imperial measures even in high school I no longer think in them. Metric is just so much, much easier and more logical.

Love and peace


Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 08, 2010:

I really do think most people take the article as a joke and know that a little fun is being poked at America and its inability to make a switch to metric measures.

As for it being believed-- yes, the truths do point out the total irrationality of sticking to the outdated and cumbersome system. I DO believe metric is objectively better. Thank you for adding to the commentary.

BeholdersEye on October 07, 2010:

Are you serious? A pounding headache? That has to be your worst example. Measuring cup is 250 mL, why is that hard? One pound of meat ~500 g, is that so tough? A ton vs a tonne, what is the difference? Metrication does not involve changing the calendar, another scaremonger ploy.

There are still machine shops that are constantly doing conversions through out the production process, it is ridiculous. Go Metric already, every time they do it, there is a chance someone will screw up. I was interviewed for the inspection job, did not get it, when I brought up the problem.

Companies are still over loaded with two walls full of shelves of Imperial and Metric hardware. What a waste.

I did not take your article as a joke, people who read it, actually believe it.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 24, 2010:

That's good to hear, Marisa. Following through, once started, is always less confusing.

Kate Swanson from Sydney on September 23, 2010:

Rochelle, I should say that it doesn't have to be as confusing as it was in the UK. I live in Australia now, and people here tell me that the transition went quite smoothly.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 23, 2010:

Thanks, Chris Lincoln. Back in the 60's I thought it might happen here, too. Don't know where that idea went in the meantime. You would think it wouldn't be all that hard since we have had a decimal based money system for at least a couple of centuries.

ChrisLincoln from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California on September 22, 2010:


I went through "the change" as it were, as a child in the UK. With a German mother who got it instantly, and an English father, who went to his death bed believing it was all a conspriracy to confuse him.

Teaching math, the metric system is so much simpler (just another base ten thing) if you can do it from kindergarten on, and I would be wheeled out once a year for my Louis Black- like rant on the "Old Measurements" - pretty good skit actually - much to amusement of the kids and my staff.

Funny writing - something I always appreciate:)

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 14, 2010:

Marisa, your curtain story really brings home the confusion. Using both systems is like having no system at all.

When I was a child we visited Canada on a few occasions. At that time they had dollars and gallons, but they weren't US dollars and gallons. Dad was very good at math, but he found it a bit frustrating to figure out what he was paying for gasoline.

Thanks for commenting!

Kate Swanson from Sydney on September 14, 2010:

Rochelle, the story of British metrication was, in a way, just as funny as your Hub. Britain committed to metrication in the mid-60's. I learned pounds and ounces in primary school, but only metric measures in high school. My little sister never learned the Imperial system, ever. The idea was that by the time we graduated, Britain would be entirely metric.

Unfortunately Margaret Thatcher had other ideas. She abolished the Metrication Board and halted all conversions. Result - I entered an adult world with a crazy mix of metric and imperial measures! To give you an example - as a broke newly-wed, I remember buying wooden dowel to make cheap curtain rods. Only trouble was, the dowel was made in metric measurements and the metal holders were made in Imperial, so they didn't fit together...

And as for my poor little sister, she had to learn Imperial measures from scratch once she left school!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 13, 2010:

Thanks RFox looks like you have the concept.... and I appreciate the comment.

to ponyboy: It seems like I have heard the idea of converting to metric in the US all my life. Yes, it is absolutely more practical and sensible.

As you can see I'm poking a bit of fun at our inability to get over our backward system-- it is just so hard to unlearn basic things.

ponyboy on September 13, 2010:

I have been using the metric system 30 years and counting, my expierence has been positive. My mother who is 50+ has tried to get me to use the inch-pound sytem and frankly I have tried to learn that outdated system and have yet to grasp the concept of a weight and measuring system where one has to convert, say, 14 miles 500 yards to feet.

In the metric system there is no conversions,all one has to do is move the decimal to the right or left. Here in Canada in most places that I travelled, one would see a highway sign saying for example an exit to certain street is 0.3 kilometres (pronounced kil-o-metres, not kil-lom-eters)what this sign is really saying is the the exit is 300 metres.

I think in metric

I weigh and measure in metric

I cook and bake in metric

I shop in metric

I am 100% metric through and through.

RFox on September 06, 2010:

hahaha....I had to read your hub after your comments in the forum.

1. This hub is hilarious!

2. It's quite funny because my Canadian/European friends and I were discussing the metric system and the whole Mars rover incident on Saturday. We cracked many jokes about it at the time as well.

3. Reading this has made me want to read more of your musings.

4. Keep up the good work!


Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on August 09, 2010:

Thanks for commenting, moneris0. Never thought about illegal drug measurements-- but then, legal prescription medicines are measured in grams and milliliters, so I guess they would be, too.

moneris0 on August 09, 2010:

just read this, im a student at high school in canada, thought it was a funny read, but i have mixed visualizations.. like in the kitchen i go by cups, teaspoons, etc.. distances i visualize by metres centimetres etc, i weigh myself in pounds, blah blah.. but i can visualize both systems easily, except for miles, which i have never experienced driving in america..

its funny that illegal drugs worldwide are measured in grams, kilograms, etc.. ive never heard of anyone buying a cup of marijuana and a teaspoon of coke.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on June 15, 2010:

I think you are right, cnwriter, and most of them probably don't even know what besotted means.

cnwriter from Los Angeles on June 15, 2010:

perhaps because many people in the USA are so besotted with the idea that everything they have is the best, they are not willing to try new things. And please not March because it is my birthday month.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 07, 2009:

I absolutely agree, and my point was to show how silly we are. I haven't even heard anyone here talking about making the change, lately. My husband visited Sweden when they drove on the left-- the change must have been a little difficult for those who had grown up with the old way.

Charlie Bloom on September 07, 2009:

Fellow americans: Why it is so hard to admit that you have learned and practiced something that is wrong and and unscientific?

I'll give you a parallell from my own country, Sweden: In the 60:ies we had a referendum about switching from driving on the left side (like England, Australia and som other countries) to the right side. The "status quo" side won. Nevertheless, our government decided that we would make a switch.

Thank heaven for that! Now that we have a bridge from Denmark to Sweden, and also high ways from Sweden to Norway, we avoid a lots of traffic problems. All scandinavians are driving on the right side.

The writers of Star Trek tv-series and films also have understood that the metric system is used by ALL human beings in the future. It is the "system of collaboration".

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