There is a book, long since out of print, by Kilgore Trout, which tells of a superhero observing the world from his vast subterranean hideaway. One day, he glances casually at the global reasonometer, and jeepers! humanity is ninety-one percent mad today. This is a clear eight-point leap from the statistical norm. After a moment's concern, the superhero checks the equipment. Maybe a freak electrical storm has thrown the calibration off kilter. With a twirl of the interositor, he checks the sanity of some other species. Dolphins: fourteen per cent mad, right on target. Horses: thirty per cent mad, just about right. Dogs: one-hundred per cent mad, exactly as they had always been since his records began.
Trout's superhero turns down the sensitivity and watches the needle fall back toward the sane zone. According to all his literature, humans, on average, are mad by the age of fourteen, yet today he has to tune out all but those under the age of eleven before the needle creep