copyright © 2002 Michael Rothschild


by Mike Rothschild

As the lights come up, Speaker is sitting center stage at a table, with a piece of blank paper on it.

A lot of people ask me why I have so much trouble meeting women. OK, nobody asks me that. In fact, it’s just about the least interesting subject possible. But since I’m on stage, and you’re not, you’re going to have to sit here and take it.

Holds up the piece of paper.

This piece of standard letter sized paper represents the population of the state of California, as of the 2000 Census. At the time of that census was taken there were 33,871,648 people living here. Of these, 17 million are women.

Tear paper in half.

Of these 17 million, approximately 1.4 million are in my acceptable dating age range, which is 21 to 27. Well, ok, 18 to 35. OK, legal to retired. It’s embarrassing, but there it is. Anyway, 1.4 million out of 17.

Tear the edge off the paper, discard the rest.

That’s 8 percent. And half the state’s population age 15 and over is married. So we’ll extrapolate a little, take our 1.4 million 21 to 27 year olds and marry half of them off.

Tear the paper in half.

Mazel Tov. That makes 700,000. Sounds like a lot. Now, Los Angeles County makes up 27 percent of the state. So, using my flunked-out-of-algebra math skills, we find that 27 percent of that 700,000 is 189,000.

Tear large chunk off paper.

We’re down to one percent. This is getting bad. Now, I’m a fairly intelligent person, and I enjoy both civil discourse and hot sex. So I’d have trouble dating someone who didn’t have at least SOME college education. The Census says 22 percent of people over 18 have taken college classes. So, we take 22 percent of 189,000 and get…

Tear large chunk off paper.

41,580 unmarried women in my age range in LA County with some college education. Now we get into pure speculation, since the Census doesn’t keep track of live in lovers, long-term relationships and awkward one night stands. Of 41,580 let’s say half are in committed relationships…

Tear the paper in half.

Half of them are lesbians, which is just a waste of both our times…

Tear the paper in half

And half of THEM "just don’t have time to date anyone".

Tear the paper in half

So we’re left with…

Pause, look at the scrap of paper.

A really small fucking piece of paper. So what do I do? Do I give up and declare myself "married to the sea"? Do I shave my head and embrace my forced celibacy? My parents used to ask if I’d met any nice Jewish girls. Then they asked if I’d met any nice girls. Then they just asked if I met any girls. Now they don’t ask.

I could keep finding reasons to tear this in half until it was just a molecule. But physics tells us that you can take away half of something an infinite number of times, and you’d still have a piece of it left. That half of a half of a half times infinity plus one is still there. You can tear it in half all you want, you’re not getting rid of it. It’s still there, on a subatomic level.

Examines it, squinting in the stage lights.

Yeah, I can see her. Just hanging on.

I stand up and put the tiny scrap of paper in my front pocket.



"Subatomic" debuted December 13, 2002, performed by Michael Rothschild.

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