blinking snake


The coming of Easter has not been lost on the Fanny Farmer people, who are rejoicing over their projected share of the candy tonnage to be distributed by the Easter Bunny this year; an estimated 250,000 tons industrywide.

That works out to 500 million pounds, or more than 36 billion inch-long chocolate eggs, according to Fanny Farmer’s statistics, which assume for the sake of simplicity that all Easter candy is chocolate.

Who said statistics are dull, especialy when you can use them to manipulate incomprehensible numbers into images that everyone can understand?

To that end, Fanny Farmer has figured out that those 36 billion inch-long eggs would circle the Earth twice, although it’s hard to see why they figured it that way. Given that 36 billion inches equals 568,182 miles and the circumference of the Earth is a shade under 25,000 miles, more than 20 times around the Earth seems closer to the mark.

Gather all those eggs up, wring out the wet ones, and stack them up vertically, and the retail candy store chain says they’ll reach a quarter of the way to the moon. But since the mean distance from the Earth to the moon is 238,857 miles, it seems more likely that 568,162 miles of eggs could reach to the moon and return with about 90,000 miles of eggs to spare.

Another astonishing statistic: string the eggs like a necklace, and they’ll reach from New York to Los Angeles and back 11 times, it says here. But New York and Los Angeles are about 2,800 miles apart. So 568,182 miles of eggs would cover the distance about 203 times. One way or another it would tie up a lot of traffic.

Fanny Farmer also alleges that if the Easter Bunny had all those eggs in one basket, “he could hide enough eggs that it would take several lifetimes to find them all,” not to mention several weeks for the bunny to recover from the hernia.

All of which leads to an inescapable conclusion:

If all of Fanny Farmer’s statisticians were placed end-to-end along the State Street Mall on Easter morning, they would have no one to blame but themselves.

—Clarence Petersen, Chicago Tribune, 3 April 1988

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