When not talking about a relationship between numbers, we refer to 100% as the entirety of something. Or the maximum. At least that’s what we learned to be true. More than 100% won’t fit. Using the 100% whole concept has been a good image calculator.
We measure capacity, ability, energy, effort, intelligence, distance, population, even our confidence. We rarely give out more than 100% on a test score (a timed test with extra credit we might). Politicians measure their base, and just about everything else, with the 100% concept.
In the spin class Friday, the instructor yelled out a couple of times “now give me 110%.” We’ve all heard that expression. Go above and beyond. Dig deep. In our super-sized culture, we need an explanation for over-the-top.
It must be something about adding that extra 10% to achieve 110%. It’s rarely 120% or 150%. Ten percent above capacity seems like the right about of exaggeration while keeping it close to real and getting the point across. Although someone did ask me the other day if I was 1,000% sure about something.
In sports, players normally exert, or play consistently hard, at 80-90% unless it’s a sprint. Playing at 100% is not sustainable for more than a few seconds so we tend to measure the 80-90 as 100%. When there is a spurt, we call it 110%.
In the world of manufacturing, most factories measure their production lines in terms of efficiency as a percent. A good factory may be around 70-75%. I was in one factory where the owner pointed to a couple of lines they said worked between 100-110%. They were super-duper workers, I thought at the time.
Whether we talk about a scale of 1-10 or as a percent, measuring gives us perspective. It helps us swallow logic. If we are asked to grade service on a questionnaire from 1-10, there are some who would write 11 or 12. I heard a couple of guys refer to the beauty of a woman that way — exceeding the top of the scale. We like to stretch the boundaries. Magnify our point.
I had a CAT scan two days ago (even though I’ve had about 110% of the radiation I need in a lifetime). Because it was with contrast, I had to have an IV. The guy didn’t get the IV in the best vein so during the scan I felt my white tee shirt getting soaked. (my outer shirt was off). I couldn’t say anything because you can’t move or talk. Afterwards it was clearly evident that 50% of the IV bag mixed with a percent of blood leaked all over my shirt. The technician said no problem, it was only saline and blood. I thought, well, no problem for you buddy, you don’t need to wear it back to work. My outer shirt was white so it looked like I wore a tee shirt with an abstract red print underneath. I think his mind was only 50% there, or he was 50% goofball. It’s nice when you go into sophisticated test machines that the people running them are better than 80%. You’d like to think they are at 110%.
Many use percent measures when exercising. For example, it’s a good idea to vary the heart rate and gradually work up to maybe 85% of your heart’s maximum (some days). Other days, you might want to stay below 60% of max. But you’d never want to be at baseline and then go right to your maximum.
Having a heart attack is something like that but without the exercise. It’s a huge sudden stress to the heart, maybe hitting near 100% or even exceeding the limit. The sudden stress can be and usually is damaging.
That’s what happened to DOD. He may have gone to 110%. His heart was damaged and now is functioning at 30% and apparently won’t get any better. It’s a very measurable figure. And that doesn’t mean 30% of maximum, rather 30% of normal. He’ll never get to 100% let alone 110%. He’ll have a radically new 100%.
Thinking back on his life, he lived close to 100% of life. He never participated in too much life-sucking nonsense (like TV). He engaged life at the 80-90% level. If he can get over this hump, he’ll find a way to stay engaged.
And at this point, I’m 110% sure that I’ve reached my babble limit. If I were at 80-90%, there is a good chance this post would make more intelligible sense. At some future point, I’m determined to figure out how to stretch the boundary to eek out the extra 10 percent. If so, it might make 80-90% seem more reachable.
In the meantime, we are all 100% behind you DOD.