Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Mathematics Of "Runaround Sue"

Runaround Sue was a big hit for Dion and the Belmonts way back when. Let's listen in on them* singing it.

Here are the lyrics I'd like you to consider.
Here’s my story it’s sad but true
It’s about a girl that I once knew
She took my love then ran around
With every single guy in town.
Every single guy in town?!? Wowsers! Let's take a closer look at this.

Let's assume for the sake of argument that Dion, like his fans, is a high school kid. Let's put him in an average school with 1200 students, 300 from each grade. Assuming further that the sexes are evenly distributed in each grade - 140 boys, 140 girls and 20, err,  other**. Finally, let's assume strict social stratification by grade level in the school. This simple math leads to a few easy conclusions.
  1. The song should be sung by a boys' chorus, not a soloist. Since 140 boys fell in love with Sue and she cheated on each in turn***, Dion has no special privilege to complain of his betrayal by Sue. In fact, given the number of boys Sue ran around with, it's highly unlikely that Dion was the first.
  2. Dion needs to seek professional help. He clearly has codependency issues. He falls in love with Sue and she then proceeds to cheat on him, not once, not twice, but 139 times. After this, his love still grows. That's not emotionally healthy, Dion.
  3. Sue needs help, too. 140 boyfriends? She's either been deprived of love growing up or she's a pure nymphomaniac. Either way, she needs time on the couch. With a female psychiatrist.
  4. Insurance companies should avoid providing a policies for Sue. Running around with every guy may cause jealousy and broken hearts among the boys, but the girls in her school are likely to take a firmer stance on the whole thing.
  5. Everyone in the school needs to visit the local clinic to be checked for diseases and parasites. Good Lord, Sue has been running around with everyone and they, in turn, have fallen into the arms of others for consoling with the end result being a disease transmission vector network that makes LinkedIn look positively sparse.
And there you go - some cursory thoughts on the topic of Runaround Sue. You're welcome.

* - I seriously doubt that was really the Belmonts up there. Dig the old dudes in the band. They look like Dion's father and his poker buddies. They're not comfortable with their guitars and their backing vocals are less than convincing. They're putting on brave faces, but they clearly wish they were dressed like slobs, smoking cigars, drinking bourbon and playing cards.

** - OK, I know. Cheap joke. But it's alright because I didn't insult the Prophet (PBUH).

*** - Except, perhaps, the last boy, who has the right to gloat. After, as I said before, visiting the clinic.

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