By Samuel Bovitz
One day, I was surfing YouTube for random videos, as one often does when they are bored in the 21st century, and decided to rewatch the old Sesame Street WIRED “Autocomplete Interview.”
I decided to really scrutinize what everyone’s favorite marionette monsters were saying this time, and at around the 5:00 mark, I heard the Count say something that caught my ear. It was a throwaway line, but it somehow hit me hard when the Internet asked his age. He responded by saying “I am 6,523,728 years old… next October.”
This video was released in February of 2017. If we assume this was filmed a week or so before its release, this means that as of this writing, Count von Count from Sesame Street is 6,523,732 years old– because remember, he turned 6,523,728 years old in October 2017.
HOW IN THE WORLD IS THAT POSSIBLE?
The Count is a vampire, sure, but vampires as we understand them aren’t invincible. He says that he has an “unquenchable thirst for numbers,” but could a steady diet of math really sustain him for more than 6 and a half million years? If he were to eat nothing but an invisible, numerical version of alphabet soup for that period of time, 3 meals a day, would there ever be a day where life would no longer be worth living? Does he actually subsist on counting, or does he need blood like his former co-worker, Dracula?
What makes this even more ludicrous is the fact that numbers, as he counts them today, have only been around in civilized form since the start of, well, civilization. Specifically, that’s Sumer, a Mesopotamian civilization that got really boring to learn about after a few weeks in middle school history class. According to HISTORY.com’s estimate, Sumer was first settled, if we’re being generous, around 4,500 BCE. That’s around 6,500 years ago, which is a long period of time if you’re not SIX AND A HALF MILLION YEARS OLD!
Sumer contains one of the oldest recorded instances of mathematics as we know them today, so that means the Count is either lying to us about his age or he invented counting hundreds of thousands of years before humans did.
Earth itself is around 4.5 billion years old, which means the Count has been around for about .014% of the planet’s existence. That may seem like very little, but let’s take an example of an old dude who’s left a pretty big legacy on the world at large. Let me see, how about, uhh, Jesus Christ! That’s probably a good one. If he were still alive today, he’d be 2,025 years old, meaning Jesus would only have been around for .0000044% of Earth’s existence. By comparison, the Count might be the oldest influential creature on Earth.
But for argument’s sake, let’s assume this Muppet vampire is not lying to us and is actually over 3,000 times older than Jesus. What might that say about what The Count has seen, and how much has he had the privilege of counting?
Let’s go by standard human metrics and assume his childhood was 18 years, meaning for the other 6,753,714 years, Count von Count has been an adult. What would he have been able to count? Well, he would have been able to count a number of members of one of the first big steps in human evolution. Around this time is when chimpanzees and humans stopped having common ancestors. There’s not exactly anything to count there, so let’s go on.
The Count would already be around 1,500 years old by the time he would be able to count hippopotami, and would be 3,500 old by the time he could count swordfish, and yes, he is over 4,000 years older than the species Homo habilis, one of the earliest species that would eventually evolve into the very dumb Homo sapiens– the species he is around 6 million years older than. Finally, around the time that the Count could count all 5,500 years of his existence, he could celebrate by counting the first wolves. Of course, this also means that by the time Jim Henson himself was born, the Count was already over 6.7 million years old. And yet, he chooses to spend his time with a 3-year old and someone who literally lives in a trash can. He could be– and count– so much more.
Which brings me to my next question: if I were the Count, what would I do with my boundless knowledge of all of human existence plus an additional 6 million years? Well, I would share it! If the Count has subsisted on basic counting before the concept was invented and is over 3,000 times older than possibly the most beloved dead guy on Earth, then he NEEDS to be a historian. The Count’s perspectives on the dawn of human existence and civilization, and all major world events, past and present, would be fascinating. But no, he just wants to count to 20.