Before I begin to expose what may just be the most important advancement in modern science since the discovery of peanut butter, I should explain how this whole thing came about. A few days ago, the eminent Dr. Fluff P. Glitter (PhDJ) raised the question of how much creaking was normal for a 6-month-old hard drive. This question – and the difficulty of providing an accurate answer in text form – somehow sparked my poor overworked brain into activity, and it came up with the following results. I’m still wondering whether or not to submit this to Wikipedia.
The Edna scale
Creaking is defined as an annoying sound, often produced by the friction between two physical surfaces. However, while everyone will agree that there are different types and intensities of creaking, there was, until now, no scale by which to measure them. Mere volume of noise could be measured in decibels, however, creaking has a particular creakiness that cannot be solely measured by its loudness alone. The proposed scale is the following, measured in Ednas:
0.1Ed – Quasi-imperceptible creaking that may or may not have happened, but that you most certainly heard, coming from somewhere up there in this unfamiliar house as you try to get to sleep.
0.2Ed – The strangely satisfying creak of a new book opening for the first time.
0.3Ed – The upper limit of acceptable creaking from an HDD/CD/DVD drive before it becomes alarming. Also minimum level of creaking required for spousal approval for replacing said drive for a much better but rather expensive one.
0.8Ed – Sound produced by a mildly concerned spouse/parent/significant other.
1 Edna – Amount of creaking produced by a whalebone corset. Natural materials and moderate tension should be used in order to produce the true base unit of the Edna scale; a synthetic corset under high tension could produce up to 2.5Ed, therefore compromising the whole system.
1.3Ed – Creaking produced by regular old people.
1.5Ed – Creaking produced by a bed or mattress while occupants are having sex and no-one else is around to hear it.
1.7Ed – Creaking produced by loose floorboard or step during the daytime.
1.8Ed – Creaking produced by a regular, non-oiled door, during daylight hours.
2Ed – Creaking produced by particularly creepy old people. Like the old man who runs that antique shop and seems to know everything about everyone.
2.3Ed – Creaking produced by loose floorboard or step when burgling a house or committing any other legally reprehensible activity.
2.5Ed – Creaking produced by loose floorboard or step when sneaking to the kitchen for a late night snack, or after just having got the baby to sleep at last.
2.7Ed – Creaking produced by a wooden chair when confronted with an unusually heavy load. Yes, you. Can increase to up to 5Ed if the room is full of slim people on non-creaking chairs, and there is a sudden gap in the conversation.
2.8Ed – Creaking produced by the average public toilet door lock (when available)
3Ed – Creaking produced by a bed or mattress while occupants are having sex and there are people around to hear and be embarrassed by said creaking.
3.5Ed – Creaking produced by happily jumping on a well-sprung bed.
3.6Ed – Creaking produced by the average playground swing.
4Ed – Creaking produced by a bed or mattress by simply turning over or adjusting ones position, but that will be perceived by disapproving ears as the noise of occupants of said bed having sex.
4.8Ed – Creaking produced by the average trampoline.
5Ed – Creaking produced by a taught gallows rope, swinging in the breeze.
6Ed – Creaking of the average playground swing when sat upon by the Antichrist.
6.5Ed – Creaking produced by rubber soles crossing the floor of a supposedly silent place (library, cathedral, exam room…)
7Ed – Creaking produced by David Hasselhoff’s leather trousers on a hot day.
8.5Ed – Highest level yet recorded. Produced by the front door of that sinister mansion on the hill when opened by faithful yet horribly disfigured manservant. Requires much upkeep of door creakiness and a particularly steady hand, not to mention years of door opening practice to achieve such a level. Works best during thunderstorms.
The above are but a few examples of creakiness to give you an idea of how the Edna Scale works. As you may have noticed, creakiness not only varies depending on the physical objects in question, but also depending on the situation. In fact, creakiness is one of the elements affected by the Universal Rule of Exponential Awkwardness (UREA). The Rule states that if a given situation can in any way be made worse for a person by them experiencing Awkwardness, it will, hence causing further and greater Awkwardness, and so on, until the Maximum Awkwardness Potential is achieved.
As recent research has shown, every human being emits particles of Awkwardium, some positive, some negative. Cool people emit high levels of negative Awkwardium, which is absorbed by the Uncool, and their bodies process it by turning it into pure Awkwardness, and by-products Embarrassment and Inadequacy. On the other hand, Uncool humans emit higher levels of positive Awkwardium, which reacts not only with other humans but also with their surroundings, causing Awkward Situations. They also emit negative Awkwardium, as do certain objects or combinations of objects, therefore perpetuating the occurrence of Awkward Situations.
I will stop there for today, as you have no doubt drifted off to sleep by now, and I will save the rest of the theory for my book, entitled “A brief history of Awkwardness”.
My thanks go out to Dr Fluff P Glitter (PhDJ), Stephanie Friend and Damien Hopkins for their invaluable help with the research that led to this article.