Yada Yada Data

Yada Yada Data

By J.V. Houlihan Jr.

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The “Seinfeld” show gave us loads of inanity and banality on a weekly basis, for example the show examined dating: good dates, bad dates, awkward dates. I mean dates this and dates that, what’s with all of these dates, dates, dates! We met the “The Mumbler,” “The Lip Reader,” and the “They’re real and they’re fantastic!” date, et al. Kramer— for some wacky reasons—stumbled into the arms of beautiful dates only to have the relationships sabotaged; the guy could do a mean pratfall. We love the Kramer. Elaine, well the crush I had on her still makes my knees wobble as I scramble to see her on the TV set in reruns. I mean, I really do wobble because I’m a geezer who limps and wobbles sometimes.  Jerry the snarky whiner? ‘Nuff said about Jerry. We all know about Jerry. George Costanza was the king of sloth, the big-daddy of nada, a do-nothing king of his own kingdom: no money, no job, no woman, no prospects—and to put a cherry on this Sundae of ineptitude, he lived at home. He’s a neeeeeedy guy. Then, he meets a girl named Marcy. In one episode she’s telling George about an old boyfriend who came over to visit her the night before and, “Yada yada yada, I’m really tired today,” she said. This really got George’s attention. Subsequently, these six syllables of vagueness then became a staple of this show about nothing. Go figure this stuff.

These guys, along with Larry David and his writer pals must’ve had fun making a show which was basically about nothing—yada yada yada—which itself means nothing, nada, zero, zilch. Yet we loved this show, Whattacountry! Plus, these guys made some substantial scoots for their effort—good for them.

“Yada Yada Yada” means nothing and everything; however, the term has no value that can be quantified or qualified except by the person who uses the phrase. Yada has a vast domain of context. Lately, I feel the same way about internet data as I feel about yada. I have an IPhone 6 which has ten gigabytes of data. My research into what data means led to pages of obfuscation and techno speak which was impossible to understand. Data like yada, has some type of value. Yada is free but we pay for the data. Today, it’s a term used in a cavalier manner—like yada. When I got my fancy phone, people would ask me, “Hey, how much data do you have on your phone?” “Wow, that’s a lot of data!” “Better watch your data, it gets used up fast.” “What’s your plan— for your data?” It’s data this, and data that; data data data! I have no idea what data really means, yet like all other consumers who use the gadgets, I pay monthly for said data; no questions asked.

I was down at the Battery one day in New York City taking in the sights. A kid comes up to me and says, “Hey, you wanna buy a Rolex?” “How much,” I asked. The kid wanted five scoots for the watch. I knew I was being hustled for a bogus Rolex Oyster, but I was a tourist and felt like tipping the kid. I flipped him a ten spot. If I know I’m getting hustled, I can work with that. If I don’t know the game, I don’t like that. Regarding data, I bet very few people know the game. Sure, a self-assured sales clerk knows what to say regarding our data plans—it’s the clerk’s gig. But, like yada, what really is data? Furthermore, who decides the value of this cyber stuff? I’ll go out on a limb here and say less than 1 percent of the people on this planet have any idea what data is, and what true value it possesses.

Like the writers of “Seinfeld” who leave to us to guess the value of yada and leave us to go figure what it means, I’ll bet there are some guys who arbitrarily decide the value data, also. It’s an expanse of vague that we can’t wrap our heads around, and the data guys surly know this. I can just hear the dialogue between a couple of very sharp and tech savvy data guys who are on a golf course. “Hey, what are people paying for one gigabyte of data today, J.R.?” “Sir, today they are paying (arbitrary number), for data usage.”

“That’s pretty cheap, J. R., don’t you think?”

“Yes sir, it is. I think we can raise the price of data today.”

“What percentage should we go with for that data, J. R.?”

“(Arbitrary number)”

“No, too low, let’s go with (arbitrary number).”

“Sounds good, sir, now let’s forget all of this data data data, and play some golf.”

Finally, we’re reminded when we’re about to use up our data allowance—oh dear! Then, we’ll be asked after our gadget alerts us to examine a new data plan—so we won’t go over our data allowance. So folks, caveat emptor, when you go to the phone store and hear the clerk give you some “yada yada yada,” about your data data data.

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