I spend a lot of time writing, and teaching, and teaching writing, and most days it feels like a combination of screaming into the void and falling down a flight of stairs, both of which are great metaphors because almost everyone can imagine them even if they haven’t had that experience. Connection is the key to writing. Metaphor invites connection.

It’s hard to see yourself in a centimeter. Hard to guess how many liters fit in a cupped hand. Am I writing now, or am I forging, word by word, the yardsticks for describing the world?

The heart is a muscle the size of your fist. Clench one, then the other, and see what you can hold onto.

The heart pumps blood: A bit less than would fit in two of those big party bottles of soda you get from the pizza place. Your blood is enough for one small party, or a medium-length tabletop gaming session. Your blood is half the volume of an average adult cat, floof included. In the USA, where we will measure literally anything by anything else, the average woman is only 6.5 average cats tall.

In the USA, where we will measure anything by anything else, I can deadlift nearly five German Shepherds (definitely five if they’re smallish, closer to four if they’re big, so about two Bidens worth of dogs), which will probably come in useful if there’s an apocalypse.

In the USA, where we will measure anything by anything else, police have killed at least 13 2/3 school buses worth of people this year alone. Coronavirus has killed 251 school buses worth. 671 school buses worth have committed suicide, which probably has something to do with half of people making less than it costs to buy a single bottle of Acqua di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani. Relatedly, 975 school buses worth have died of an opioid related drug overdose. We have as many supervised injection sites in the USA as we have Dusky Seaside Sparrows, or Kingman’s Prickly Pears, or Tacoma Pocket Gophers.

We will measure anything, by anything else. But maybe it’s time to stop measuring, and start counting.