A Tutorial in Camel Math

I don't think this poor man understood how the deal was supposed to go down.
I don’t think this poor man understood how the deal was supposed to go down.

To quell my rage at the current state of women-bashing from some politicians, I decided my time would be better spent looking up stuff on the internet rather than browsing in the gun store and giggling over all the really shiny bullets. I thought I might feel better about how women are being treated in this country if I looked at how much things actually seriously suck for women in some other cultures. Kind of like how you don’t really feel super fat anymore if you hang out with sumo wrestlers.

So I was shocked—shocked, I say!—to discover that in some parts of the world brides are still purchased by their would-be husbands. Wait, that wasn’t the shocking part. I was shocked that in some parts of the world where you can still purchase your wife, you still have to pay for her in camels.

Yes, camels. Well, not actual camels, this is 2012. But since camels are the only unit of currency still accepted for purchasing another real-live human being, the price in cash is still factored using the Camel Exchange Rate.

This is where camel math comes in handy. Okay, it’s only camel algebra in parts of the world where camels are useful. Here, for example, having a camel around would just be a serious pain in the ass. I would have to guess that where I live you’d have to buy your bride using the Possum Exchange Rate. The Camel Exchange Rate dictates how much money a camel is worth depending on its age, its gender, how many camel babies it can have, how many original teeth it still has, etc. You know, important camelly things.

In those parts of the world where this still applies, you get together with the bride’s family and your family and you come to an agreement on how many camels the bride is worth. Then, you convert that number into actual usable money based on the price per camel. Or you could kick it old school and actually show up with a few camels and let the bride’s father take those camels down to the bank and swap ‘em for cash. Kind of like those check cashing places. Only with camels. But here is exactly why camel math will never work in this country.

ME: Honey, I need you to answer a question without really thinking it through. If you were going to guess how many camels you could get in exchange for me, how many would it be?

HIM: (blank stare)

ME: C’mon, you’re over thinking it. How many camels am I worth? What’s the first camel number that comes to mind?

HIM: (more staring)

ME: Hurry up, already! You’re reading too much into it! Just tell me how many camels you could get for me!

HIM: (retreating to the garage without turning his back on me)

ME: You’re gonna be sorry when I make you pay with a whole lot of camels! You’re gonna get robbed on the camel rate because you’re not being a savvy shopper!

He didn’t want to talk after that and it’s not like he had a whole lot to say during that conversation anyway. He was probably just blown away by my generous offer of camels since all he’s ever dealt with so far is possums.

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8 thoughts on “A Tutorial in Camel Math

  1. Stick with camels; the Possum Exchange Rate has been horrible since the bubble of ’06, when it was discovered that 80% of the possums being used for collateral were actually dead, not just faking it. The big banks were covered by Creature Default Swaps, but investors are skittish.

    Besides, while the Saudis buy their brides with Camels, ’round these parts it’s usually Marlboros.

  2. I am going to ask my husband this question. He will probably say zero because he knows how to make me bite.

    When I first read this post, You Bastard, the greatest mathematician of the Discworld, sprang to mind. Cause, you know, he’s a camel…

  3. I would give you a whole herd. When I was in Israel the going rate for a camel was about $2500. Since that will barely buy the usual American wedding dress I guess we are still bringing quite a camel price.

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