I'm 99% sure that my feet are still there. I feel this way because I can think of no reason why my feet wouldn't be there. I'm not looking at them, and have no immediate proof of their existence, but I'm pretty damn convinced that they're there. Still.. I feel inclined to leave a 1% margin of uncertainty, just in case I am wrong, just in case for whatever in credulous reason my feet have been removed. It's next to impossible, near-completely implausible, but I still have to allow for the possibility.
Please bear* with me while I check my feet. Ok.
I'm 90% sure that when i get home tonight, I'm going to hop (and run) on the treadmill for half an hour or so. I say this because it's something that I want to do, something that I need to do and often do with regularity. I can't imagine that anything will stop me from doing it, but I can imagine that there are potential things that could stop me from doing it.
If I tell you I'm 99% likely to be there, you don't have to worry about me not turning up, barring some significant incident or injury, which you'd ultimately forgive me for.
If I tell you I'm 90% likely to be there, and I don't turn up, then you're going to want an excuse as to why I'm not there, since I seemed so fairly certain of my arrival.
If I tell you I'm 80% sure I'll be there... well if you have any understanding of figures and social obligations, and posses even the merest shred of social insecurity, you'll tell me not to bother, and expect me not to turn up at all.
We need a way to say that we're passionate about being there and will do our best to make it, but foresee possible interruptions. We need a way to say we put a lot of effort and research into the report, but are prepared to accept it could all be bollocks.
85%... 95%... these numbers are too arbitrary, like we've just picked them at random... but 88%... eighty-eight percent... it speaks of research and calculation and... bingo callers. it's just what we need to convince people of our passion and intent whilst letting them know we're still subject to the whims of circumstance.
I'm 88% sure this new meme is going to take off...
*There was some discussion over whether this should have been "bare" rather than "bear" but I felt it sounded too much like you getting naked while I touch my feet...