Publish date:


Where did we go wrong? You say the 1970 census shows the number of bores is declining? Impossible. Have you checked all the sports?

Dec. 7, 1970
From: Director, U.S. Census Bureau
To: All District Managers
Attn: Urgent! Your Eyes Only!

A close study of all 1970 U.S. census figures examined so far reveals a striking discrepancy in one area of our sophisticated tabulations. The figures show, conclusively, that when the final official count is in, the number of bores in the United States will have declined by at least 42%, and possibly by as much as 48%. Even accepting the lower estimate, our count will show that the bore population of the U.S. has diminished by 14.5 million persons. Obviously, this is at great odds with the facts, and the publication of these figures will raise grave doubts about the validity of the entire census. Anyone who has had to deal recently with dental technicians, stockbrokers or working mothers, anyone who has seen Merv Griffin on TV or faced up to Tom 'n' Nancy Seaver, knows that the bore population in America is more visible than ever and increasing at an alarming rate. Where have our calculations gone wrong?

It is imperative that a complete reexamination of our tabulations in this area be made immediately. Accordingly, I am herewith ordering a complete re-study of all 1970 data pertaining to bores. Moreover, I would like each and every one of you to meet here in Washington next Monday morning at 0900 hours in the office of the deputy director. If a reexamination of our records does not indicate that a gross error has been made, I will expect immediately a complete analysis detailing the reasons why the bore population is declining in the United States.

Gentlemen, the honor of the 1970 census is at stake.

Dec. 10, 1970
From: Deputy Director, U.S. Census Bureau
To: Director
Re: Bore Totals
I must inform you that, following a careful check of our figures as well as consultation with all district managers in my office this morning, we still conclude that the preliminary U.S. bore figures are substantially correct. As indicated by the early figures, the bore population has declined precipitously. Presently, we estimate that this group has decreased 47.2% during the last decade, or by 15,731,689 persons.

In accordance with your request, we have conducted a full survey of all regions to uncover the reasons for this unexpected development. Following are the conclusions that, it seems, help explain this surprising phenomenon:

1) While the number of measurable overt bores has declined, as reported, all evidence suggests that the number of latent bores is increasing apace. This would jibe with your own intuitive response to the figures.

2) Except for isolated instances, the bore population count matched our projected estimates in the regions of warm climate, while falling short in areas of less moderate temperatures. For instance, the number of bores in Harlingen, Texas came within 0.02% of our projected estimate: the total in Dothan, Ala. was only 0.04% off our projected estimate. By contrast, in some areas of Vermont and Idaho, the real bore population has declined by as much as 86%.

3) A computer analysis of selected sites from all sections of the country showed, in every instance, within less than 1%, chance of possible error, that an increase in the number of skiers in the area was directly related to a decrease in the number of bores. Specifically, our preliminary polling suggests that for every single new skier, 12.6 bores are removed from the rolls—or, at least, transfer from the overt to latent categories.

Conclusion: People who ski are so overwhelmingly boring that they are dominating the field, and making it impossible for other bores to exercise their God-given abilities.

To help understand this conclusion, I must refer to the study we made, based on our 1960 figures, of the U.S. bore population. At that time, I am sure you will remember, we were able to isolate the 10 classic strains of bores. They were:

1) Automobile Bore
2) Clothes Bore
3) Children/Grandchildren Bore (See particularly Boss & Neighbor's epic work in this area detailing the modern methods employed to display wallet snapshots.)
4) Travel Bore
5) Sex Bore (The classic study in this field, updating all previous work, is Reuben & Schaap's recent I Can't Help It If I Get More Tedious Every Day.)
6) Cliché Bore
7) Athletic Bore
a. Pro Football Bore
b. Golf Bore
c. Other
8) Weather Bore
9) Medical Bore
10) Stock Market Tip Bore (Removed from the list March 18, 1969 to be replaced by Credit Card Bore.)

As you know, any American can qualify to become a bore merely by exhibiting repetitive proficiency in any one of these 10 departments. It has been rare indeed to find anyone capable of standing out as a bore in as many as five departments. I'm sure you will recall our former champion bore, Tidas Plick, of Seaford, Del., who qualified in what was then the astonishing total of seven bore categories, and, in a final exciting burst, added an eighth (category No. 6, Cliché Bore) on his deathbed, when he said: "That's all she wrote."

Nowadays, however, it is not uncommon in the least for skiers to be boring—after only one weekend's activity near the slopes—in eight or even nine of the 10 departments. Several skiers (see File E-723861) have actually managed a 10-for-10, although one must be especially dexterous to be simultaneously boring about how well his beautiful children schuss (Children Bore), while also detailing how quickly he plundered a blonde secretary from Samsonite that he met at the bar in the lodge (Sex Bore).

Not only do Ski Bores overwhelm your average bore in his own limited specialty area, they also exercise the facility of moving right on to being just as boring in a whole other field. For instance, a run-of-the-mill Travel Bore might, in the past, have stood out in any crowd merely by saying: "I know Portugal's right this time of year, but me and the missus are going to the Yugoslavian beaches anyway because all the German tourists have left by now."

A Ski Bore, however, can put that quickly to shame by replying: "After we got back from Vail we were thinking about going to Mt. Snow for the weekend, but then the charter flight to Austria and Peru came up with two openings, so we just had to grab that instead." Then, while the Travel Bore is still stunned, the Ski Bore will hardly draw a breath before blithely skipping on to any number of other bore areas, such as Medical Boredom: "And the marvelous thing is, since I discovered this great little back specialist I have a brace that is so lightweight it permits me to ski all day without pain. Also it has cleared up my sinuses and an old war injury, which I suffered shortly after the Inchon landings." Or, Automobile Bore: "And the incredible thing is that in my new Remus KT-74, with the automatic camshaft and special revolving headlight beams, we are able to get from Philadelphia to the Vermont border in 37 minutes. You take I-64 to the Dallas interchange, make a left there at 471, cut back on the old Des Moines Turnpike, go four miles over to the Alcan Highway Extension and follow that till you hit the Gulfstream. We get 632 miles to the gallon, burning 14¢ diesel fuel, and with our special ski rack we are able to seat 12 in the front and 17 in the rear, with luggage."

While this sort of performance is disheartening to bores of all categories, none have suffered as much as the Pro Football Bore, whose dramatic rise into the top 10 was chronicled so well in our 1960 Census Report analysis (Sunday's Bores, Rozelle & Cosell). Normally, an average Pro Football Bore could stand his ground with a detailed analysis of tight-end philosophy that he divined from Sunday's telecast (along with the obligatory observation that "a rookie in the defensive backfield is worth a touchdown in every game"), but our research shows that Ski Bores, having seen the same game on TV at the lodge, are capable not only of retorting in kind, but bringing in their own athletic intricacies of the weekend.

Beyond this intimidation, skiers have shown an ability to unnerve and confuse traditional bores with a deviant procedure for which there is no precedent. Classically, bores have been very zealous about their own area of competence. Children/Grandchildren Bores do not, for instance, wish to hear about anyone else's offspring. They will, in fact, acknowledge only grudgingly that others possess the facility to have children at all. Automobile Bores assume that everyone else drives a pickup truck or a six-cylinder station wagon. Clothes Bores smile condescendingly from their Guccis and Puccis and say, "It's amazing you could still find that style on the rack."

But Ski Bores possess a missionary instinct. They virtually demand that non-skiers take up the exercise. Not only are traditional bores stunned by this phenomenon, they are overwhelmed by the Cliché Bore employed to convince them that they must try skiing. Students of the art are particularly fascinated by the Ski Bore's repeated use of the word "really," which is designed as an authoritative substitute for genuine documentation of facts. To wit:

"You can get there in an hour and 45 minutes. Really."

"It's the greatest thing I've ever done in my life. Really."

"You can rent skis very cheaply. Really. And you can charge a whole magnificent ski outfit for next to nothing. Really. And then you can wear the clothes for a whole lot of other things. Really."

"No, it's actually very easy. Really. This broken leg was strictly a fluke thing. Really."

"Nobody cares if you don't ski. Really. You can sit in the lodge and drink all day long. Really. A lot of people do. Really. And you should see the broads that hang around. Really."

"Nobody laughs at you. Really. My 2-year-old picked it up right away. Really. The lifts are cheap. Really. And you can make it up there in an hour and a half. Really."

This explains, conclusively, why the general bore population has decreased so dramatically. It is retreating en masse from the Ski Bores. You must keep in mind, however, that the latent bore population remains very large, and there is solid evidence that many in this group will, in the next decade, feel obligated to restore themselves to the ranks of the bores in the only logical way—by becoming skiers.

It is the conclusion of this department that a crisis situation faces us in the '70s as the latent bore population shifts to skiing. The point may even be reached when not only will all skiers be bores, but all bores will be skiers. If this occurs, the stability and sanity of the entire United States is threatened.

cc: Department of Health, Education and Welfare

Office of the Surgeon General