Frazz Math

jan28 frazz point and actually his ninth

Okay, if Random-Child-Who-Isn’t-Caulfield is eight, then this is his ninth spring melt-off.

Though actually, based on what Frazz is saying about the first two years of his life, seventh actually is accurate.

Though since Frazz doesn’t mention The Diaper Years to confirm Random-Child-Who-Isn’t-Caulfield’s use of “seventh,” why is he even mentioning it? And what is the alleged point that Random-Child-Who-Isn’t-Caulfield is allegedly ignoring?


  1. “I can’t believe you’re not avoiding mine”.

    Frazz isn’t noting the kid is avoiding the point, he’s noting the kid is NOT avoiding the point.

    But I’m not sure it makes any more sense either way. Frazz made a dig about pooping in a diaper and I guess he assumes a kid would want to avoid that but I don’t really understand either of their points. And I don’t get how Frazz is avoiding the kid’s, nor how the kid isn’t avoiding Frazz’s.

  2. The number of springs isn’t the kid’s point – the not finding bones is the point, which Frazz is avoiding.

  3. If he was born in the summer, and he’s 8 years old, then the upcoming spring melt will be his 8th, right? I don’t see how you get 9.

    If this is an embarrassingly stupid question, please be kind in your response.

  4. “If he was born in the summer, and he’s 8 years old, then the upcoming spring melt will be his 8th, right? I don’t see how you get 9. ”

    The first spring melt-off he experienced would have happened in the first year he was alive, when he was 0.x years old. The second a year later, at 1.x, and so on until now, when he experiences his 9th, at 8.x.

    Count them up:
    0.x, 1.x, 2.x, 3.x, 4.x, 5.x, 6.x, 7.x, 8.x

    Of course, if he spent a year in say, Southern California, then there’d be a hole in that list, because there’s no spring melt-off if you’ve been somewhere too warm to have anything freeze. So his math might be correct.

  5. Chak, to be 8 years old means he has completed 8 years of life, and is working on his 9th. In those 8 years, there would have been 8 springs, regardless of when his birthday is. He would always live through a spring before he turned 1, whether that spring happened just after he was born (winter baby) or just before his next birthday (summer baby) or some other time during the year. So if he is 8, then this spring must be his 9th.

    As for Frazz’s point, I have no clue.

  6. So, the kid lives in a magical world, where he might expect to discover a mastodon revealed by melting ice at the beginning of spring. When he gets a little bit older, he’s going to transition from that magical world the mundane one, and that shift isn’t always comfortable. That’s why Frazz isn’t just dropping the “there aren’t any mastodons here to find” bomb on the kid, and instead has tried to distract him from continuing to worry that problem. But it didn’t work. Mystery unnamed child is about to have his magical bubble pop. Next, it’ll be harsh truth about Easter bunnies, tooth fairies, Santa Clauses, and then (yipe!) birds, bees, storks, cabbage leaves, and all that.

  7. Chak, if he was born in the summer, and he’s 8 years old, then he was born in the summer of 2010. Then he’s experienced spring melts ever year from 2011 to 2018, inclusive, which is 8 total. Then he’s lived through 8, and the upcoming one will be his 9th. (I’m not sure why Bill says this “is” his 9th, since it’s not actually spring yet.)

    More generally, you don’t have to assume he was born in the summer to know that he hasn’t lived through seven. He’s been alive 8 full years, and an additional part of a year, whose length depends on his birthday. The 8 full years give at least 8 spring melt-offs. He may have lived through a 9th one if the additional part of a year included a spring melt-off (e.g. if his birthday is March 15th).

    (Note to nitpickers: I’m assuming he never changed his hemisphere of residence during his life.)

  8. Hm, I type too slow.

    Perhaps my note to nitpickers is the solution. The boy was born in the summer of 2010, and spent March-June of 2014 in Australia.

  9. @Chak — I think that if he turned 8 last year then this is his 9th. At least that’s the way my spreadsheet works out. Everyone has one spring thaw in their 0th year, so the number of thaws is just about always their age plus one. The only exception I can see is if the kid was recently (like yesterday?) seven in which case the age plus one might equal eight but I just woke up and am now in a hurry to go get ready for work.

  10. Substitute the month March for “spring melt off”. Your birthday is at the completion of a full year. If you were born in the summer you have to live through March to get to your birthday, If you are 8 that means that you have lived through 8 Marches and are not on your 9th March. If you were born in March you are in your 8th March.

    The original statement was “I have lived through seven spring melt offs”. How do you interpret the term “lived through”? If you are currently in the spring melt off does it count as living through it or do you wait until it is over to say you lived through it. I would say the kid was born in march and is working on his 8th spring melt but does not count it as “lived through” yet.

    Or maybe Jef Mallet just miscounted.

  11. Mallet is mistaken in the math. Which is easy to do.

    “The number of springs isn’t the kid’s point – the not finding bones is the point, which Frazz is avoiding.”

    I don’t see that he is. The kid is saying he’s been at it a long time and it’s frustrating that it hasn’t happened yet and Frazz is saying it takes a while and there’s reason it’s taken this long.

    Well…. maybe you’re right.

    Either way, I don’t see how the kid isn’t avoiding Frazz’s point (whatever it is– still think it has something to do with dirty diapers). By accusing Frazz of miss his point is very much avoiding Frazz’s point.

  12. Kevin: If the kid is 8 years old, and was born in March, then he’s lived through seven full Marches, and two partial Marches (one as a newborn, and one now). I can see what you’re saying, that it’s possible to say that only the full ones count. But since the two partial Marches add up to at least one full March, it seems to me the number should still be eight.

  13. Everyone is counting as if the “spring melt-off” is some fixed occurrence that happens at the same time every year. If spring came early in his birth year and the melt-off was already over, and his birthday is fairly recent, then the soon to occur melt-off (in the previous day’s strip, the child indicates that it has not yet happened) would be his eighth. Thus he has lived through seven.

    It does seem like this is the wrong part of the strip to be getting hung up on, however.

  14. I think Mallet had a rough memory of once getting zapped with: “M years old, An annual event; ergo experienced it M times, and discovering it’s off by one because the first year doesn’t count”. However he got confused as it’s the first year of age that doesn’t count (i.e. doesn’t tally as the even occurs before the birthday) and thought it was the first year of the event that didn’t count.

    This is like compensating an offset of one by subtracting one only to discover that the reason for the offset was due to an original subtraction, not an original adding.

  15. Maybe the kid lived for a while here in Minnesota, where we might get a spring meltoff in early March, then go back in the icebox with snow and cold for a couple of weeks, then get another spring meltoff in late March. (Or April.)

  16. Shrug: Wouldn’t that give more than the expected 8 melt-offs, not less?

    Leon’s explanation works, but is somewhat implausible, particularly as it requires the kid to have researched the history of melt-offs during his birth year to adjust the otherwise expected number of 8.

  17. @Winter Wallaby: “Shrug: Wouldn’t that give more than the expected 8 melt-offs, not less?”

    I’ll take your word for it. I lost track of the arguments and the math backup a dozen or more posts ago, and decided to just go for “disruptive and off-topic nitpicking” to keep up my end of the conversation.

  18. “Maybe the kid lived for a while here in Minnesota”

    Or lived in California. I’ve seen maybe half a dozen spring melt-offs. Maybe a few more. But 10 at the absolute most.

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