Kevin O'Keefe is the author of The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation's Most Ordinary Citizen. I heard him in a radio interview several weeks back. I wish I could remember which show.
Through extensive research that took him on a tour all across the US, O'Keefe determined 140 qualifications that define the Average American. Here are just a few:
- eats peanut butter at least once a week
- prefers smooth peanut butter over crunchy
- can name all three stooges
- cannot name all three branches of government
- takes a shower for 10.4 minutes
- never sings in the shower
- lives within 3 miles of a McDonalds
- lives within 20 miles of Wal-mart
- lives within 2 miles of a public park
- is better off financially than their parents
- does not make more than $75,000 a year
- believes in God and the literal truth of the Bible
- holds some views that the church deems sacrilegious
- attends church at least once a month
- has fired a gun at least once in their life
- spends 95% of time indoors
- owns an electric coffeemaker
- thinks abortion is morally wrong
- supports the right of an individual to have an abortion
- owns at least one pet
- drives a car at least 8 years old without vaniety plates
- would rather spend one week in jail than be president
- will, on occasion, pee in the shower
Even though he had statistically determined the parameters that defined "average", he was never quite sure whether any one person really existed that fit every one of them. He finally came up with one candidate, Bob Burns, but he had to interview him to be sure. He left Mr. Burns a message explaining his research but Mr. Burns did not respond. O'Keefe's hopes heightened. (The average American does not want to be famous.) After making a personal visit to Mr. Burns' home O'Keefe concluded that he had indeed found the average American.
How does Bob feel about this?
"What an honor."
Check out Kevin O'Keefe's commencement address at Eagle High School to find out what's so important about being average.