You Might Be An Actuary
By Bryan Young, Arthur Schwartz, Marty Adler, and Paul Lacko
Everybody has heard comedian Jeff Foxworthy‘s “You might be a redneck” routines, maybe even bought the books, posters, beer can holders, gun rack decals, Christmas tree ornaments, and all the rest. Might the CAS develop a similar theme to strengthen its marketing and recruiting efforts and enjoy a steady stream of retail income? Think of all the tens of “You might be an actuary” mousepads, screensavers, PDA cases, notebook computer covers, windbreakers, and coffee mugs!
Does “interior decorating” mean putting a designer calculator in every bedroom and bathroom? Then you just might be an actuary.
Do you estimate the number of people at an actuarial seminar and, just for fun, put statistically justified upper and lower bounds around your central estimate? Then you might be an actuary.
You might be an actuary if you occasionally estimate the time you will spend exercising during your remaining lifetime, and then estimate the increase in your life expectancy from the exercise, and then keep exercising anyway.
The checkout clerk at the grocery store says you owe $19.88. You hand the clerk a $20 bill, one dime, and three pennies, which gets you precisely the one quarter you need for the parking meter. If you brag about your clever transaction to your coworkers at lunch the next day, then you might be an actuary.
The restaurant charges $18.00 for a large pizza (18 inch) and $12.50 for a medium pizza (12 inch). You might be an actuary if you decide how much pizza to order by comparing the ratio of the radii squared to the ratio of the two prices. And you are almost certainly an actuary if you remember to subtract one inch (of untopped crust) from each radius before you calculate.
You might be an actuary if you believe that the perfect anniversary present for your spouse is additional life insurance on yourself. You might be married to an actuary if your spouse thanks you for the perfect gift!
If your Christmas tree stays up every year until Easter, then you just might be a consulting actuary.
You might be an actuary if, while on vacation, you find yourself estimating strange things. Like what? Like the number of Norwegians in Minnesota or the number of points on the crown of the Statue of Liberty.
(Editor’s Note: There’s obviously some truth to the “actuary” stereotype! Please send us your contributions, and we’ll publish a statistically representative sample in an upcoming issue of the Actuarial Review).