A man is only as good as the work he does. Only truly laudable as man if he lives up to his title. If a cook spoils a meal, what is he? If a horologist can’t wind a watch, what is he? And what of a numbers man — a man married to the craft of the valued digit? What of an artisan who has built his life upon his skills with addition, multiplication, that other one with the smaller numbers up in the corner? What is this man if his mathematical capabilities falter? Can he still be deemed a man at all — or better yet, a count?
We Sesame Street devotees never thought we'd have to brave these questions. Our friend the Count, the compulsive tallyman who has been teaching youngsters about numbers since 1972, might be due for retirement. For, after years of handling equations with delicate aplomb, the amicable Transylvanian-American has finally screwed up on a math problem.
In celebration of the Sesame Street YouTube channel's one billionth viewer, Count von Count treats the world to the below ditty, adding up all of his new Internet friends until reaching the 10-digit milestone. But around the 1:50 mark of the video...
...the Count f***s up. He adds one to 900,999,999, erroneously resulting in a billion. Feeling a bit shattered? Yes, well, you should. We trusted the Count. We thought, "Here's a guy who knows his numbers!" We sought his advice during tax season and channeled his abilities in Vegas casinos. The Count has taught us everything we know about all that nonsense we're forced to do on paper when our iPhones run out of power, rendering us sans calculator.
And if we're expected to believe the Count is fallible, then what about the rest of the Sesame Street community? What other frauds are lurking around the Manhattan alley?
Is Oscar the Grouch in fact a compassionate neat freak? A people-person with a proclivity for sanitary living space? Are Bert and Ernie actually at constant odds, not reveling in their differences but in fact owning a consistent state of animosity because of them? Is innocent, wide-eyed Big Bird actually a worldly but cynical douche?
We don't really know what to believe anymore. For those of us who grew up idolizing the perpetually smiling puppets of the New York locale, we invested everything in the consistencies of our favorite characters. We knew that well-meaning waiter Grover would always mess up the order of his sole grouchy restaurant patron. We knew that Cookie Monster would gorge himself vehemently on his saccharine treats. And we knew that our vampirious chuckler would handle an equation like a pro. But now that that idea is shot to hell, it seems as though we, the devoted followers of Sesame, might no longer have anything we can (yes, yes, the pun is coming) count on.
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
[Photo Credit: PBS]