Measurement is impossible without the designation of a fixed unit. More, others can only use one's measurements if there's agreement on the unit on which they're based.
The last three times I took this BLEEP!ing shoulder ailment to a doctor or a gaggle thereof, I was asked: "On a scale of 0 to 10, how much does it hurt?" Never before having been asked such a question, nor having considered the utility of such a metric, I was unable to answer.
This cannot continue. Too many people are being confronted by this question -- I heard it asked of several others during a recent hospital visit -- to permit the uncertainties surrounding it to persist. Accordingly, I am pleased, after much hard thought and research, to offer the world:
I've tried for a roughly linear distribution of the agonies, but of course, some will surely disagree. Anyway, the scale itself:
- 0: Feeling fine.
- 1: A slight ache or moderate itch (scratchable).
- 2: A moderate, persistent ache or painful itch (possibly not scratchable). The sufferer might or might not go to the medicine cabinet for aspirin or ibuprofen. In about half of cases, he'll go to the liquor cabinet in preference.
- 3: A severe ache or shooting pain. Definitely analgesics time, but save the hoarded Vicodin for something serious.
- 4: The pain has affected the sufferer's movement; it might have disturbed his coordination and fine motor skills. Grouchiness is almost guaranteed. Yard work will be deferred to better days.
- 5: It's getting serious now. The pain has altered the sufferer's breathing patterns. Eating and drinking have become problematic.
- 6: The sufferer's locomotion and concentration are beginning to deteriorate. If he hasn't yet gone for the Vicodin, he will soon. No point in going to work.
- 7: Vision and hearing are degrading. One Vicodin hasn't quite done the trick, but the little tube says to wait four hours before repeating. Most definitely, "do not drive or operate heavy machinery."
- 8: Cognitive functions are seriously impeded; coordination is poor to nonexistent. A visit to the emergency room receives serious consideration. Leave the tax returns for later!
- 9: Complete incapacitation. No remaining coordination or cognitive capacity. Possible wailing. Probable profanity. Get the keys to the gun cabinet away from him!
- 10: "Where did you file the will, dear?"
Now, how would we apply this scale to agonies that arise from political events?