People scatter numbers like confetti. The former is usually incorrect, and the latter makes a mess.

This fact smacked your humble writer in the face while Texas recently experienced the winter joys many northern and eastern states endure almost every year.

A horrific car pile-up occurred on the highway outside of Ft. Worth, Texas. To this day, the number of cars involved was often inaccurately reported. The lazy media must have tossed a coin before going on air and pulled a number from some nether orifice. The numbers broadcasted ran the gamut between 100 to 167 vehicles. None of the local stations managed to agree on the correct figure.

The horrific scene took this mother back to those years when our son loved to play crash up derby with his toy vehicles. But his version resembled the mountain where humans and aliens met in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Our son’s toy pile-up meant that he used every car he owned to create a vehicular mountain.

We indulged his creativity because he had to dismantle the messy mountain and put away his toys once he finished playing. The rule to put away their toys after they finished with them applied to both our children. That made life easier for Mom.

For a while, they complied. And then the children became teenagers, and their rooms resembled the aftermath of a tornado. Since mom tried to pick her battles, she gritted her teeth and shut their doors. After all, what was the point of yelling when it would have been a fruitless endeavor?

The lackadaisical manner in which numerical “facts” flow trippingly off the tongues of so-called journalists would be amusing if it were not harmful to the people depending on accurate information.

For example, in the past year, every death they reported was due to COVID. Have you noticed this was probably the first year in a long time that actual flu deaths seemed not to happen? Suddenly, every death was COVID.

A bit suspicious, but then the incorrect reportage did the trick. Make the people fearful. But then, throughout history, the world ran on fear and control. It appears 2020 and 2021 are no exceptions.

Then a miracle blessed the land. With a new administration, the deaths declined. And so did the unemployment numbers. Amazing.

Playing with numbers has always been popular because whatever the numerical juggler wanted to promote became easier with fudging the facts. If you doubt this, then go back to any news story where numbers played a part.

In most cases, inflated guesstimates ruled. For example, whenever a march or large gathering occurred in Washington, D.C., the reported figures came from the Parks Department. Did they do a headcount? Of course not. They made a sardine-can guess, and that is what every reporter regurgitated. Because if we hear it on the news or read it in the paper, it must be true.

Gullibility and a lack of curiosity are the lazy journalist’s friends.

Look back on any natural disaster around the world. Do you believe the reporters or local officials did a body count of all the unfortunate poor who lived on the brink of the next disaster that swept them away?

The marketing folks behind commercials and advertising toss out numbers to entice people to buy the products they promote. Such tactics, on a smaller scale, occurred even back in frontier times.

Remember the snake oil salesmen who promised their product would cure any ill? Guess what? Those oily sales folk still exist, except now they wear nice suits. The insincere smiles and promises are the same as they collect their coin.

Look at the billion-dollar weight-loss industry or the prostrate cures and male stamina businesses. They claim millions of folks are thinner or studlier because of their products. Those ad men must not walk through a mall or a Wally World because they missed a few customers.

If the average person tried creative accounting when calculating taxes, their posteriors would be in deep excrement or behind bars.

Only the government and folks who deliver creative news and numbers get away with fudging.

Elizabeth “Liz” Cowan is a freelance writer and author. Check out her suspense novels on amazon.com. Website: www.elizabethcowan.com.