The Sadness of a Statistic

By Geli Juani

March 2021

 

A statistic is lumped with the rest

the face erased, the name forgotten

a mere data point to make a point.

A statistic is maybe in the pool

of those who lost their jobs,

who is considered non-poor,

who is a college graduate,

or who is a confirmed case.

 

A statistic is used to craft

a correlation, an intervention.

A statistic is part of a sum,

an aggregation, a transformation.

Will be wrangled, will be crunched,

dissected and shown in a graph.

A statistic is a tiny blue dot in

the scatterplot near the trend line.

 

Isn’t it nice to be in the conclusion,

as expected, in line with the trend.

To the question there is a solution,

to the experiment there is a fruition.

But zoom in to see the outliers,

hardheaded and nonconformists,

see the drop-outs, the censored,

the nonresponders, the little rebels.

 

The general picture turns foggy,

a can of worms opens, bugs emerge.

The power of the tests examined,

definitions and limitations checked,

standards and techniques reviewed.

If a statistic ends up not as useful,

then this is the sadness of a statistic

who wears no face, who bears no name.

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