To broom the sea … Zeros goes abroad

Earlier this week I asked my former boss how to say “counting zeros” in Italian. To which I received this reply:

Ciao Nat, Not sure what it means in English: the literal translations is ‘contare gli zeri’. If it means doing a lot of work for nothing you can say ‘scopare Il mare’ (‘to broom the sea’).

HHhhmmmm…yes, explaining the meaning of the phrase ‘counting zeros’ is a bit tricky. Truth be told, I named my blog after an unfortunate handicap where I have on occasion literally counted zeros in order to work out whether the number I’m staring at is in thousands or millions or billions or what?! Very confusing.

But the words also mean other things to me — such as the worry that attempting to right my financial ways is exactly like sweeping the ocean! but let’s leave that negative thought alone by itself to wither and die.

I’m off on holidays. Over the next two weeks I shall travel from A to B on this map (actually I’m travelling from B to A, first Italy then France but I was already on the road and unable to fix up this picture to show that accurately.)

Now, while I have been honourable on other trips this year and simply picked up the next card, rumour has it that the wifi set-up during the Italian part of my travels is dodgy and so I cheated. I had a little flick through the Deck of Small Change spreadsheet and found an assignment that would be possible while travelling without access to my files or the internet. I have bought myself the Kindle version of How to Read the Financial Pages. And, and, and I am even bringing a copy of the FT with me! Sigh …

These days the financial news contains plenty of numbers with so many zeros it almost defies imagination. It seems financial fuckwittery is not something in which only a few of us engage. Whole countries and companies are at it — except when they do it, it tends to be other people’s money tossed out the window. A gross simplification of what’s going down in the financial markets? Maybe. That’s why I’m trying to understand it all a little bit better. Now, me and my Kindle are off to the pool.

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