Virtual Voices

What's after trillions?

Economy

What's the next big number after a trillion? I'm embarrassed that I don't know. Never thought I would need to know before.

I asked my father and he said there's no such thing as numbers past a trillion. (He still thinks there are only a few million stars, because that's what there were when he went to school.)

"Of course there is a number after a trillion!" Mom said. You can always add one more number to any number.

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"And just how long do you think it would take for the mint to print trillions of dollars, huh?" said Dad, thinking to win the argument on the grounds of practicality. "It's impossible."

"Not if you print them in million dollar denominations," my mother chimed in. "You just get rid of all the bills up to the Ben Franklin. Make that one the new one dollar bill."

"Wait a minute, I forget," Dad said. "Is the stimulus package 700 billion or 700 trillion?"

"Oh I don't know, one of those," Mom said. "Anyway, I think the 700 part is wrong. That's what it was in September or October, if I recall, but they changed it."

Then the three of us reminisced about how shocking it all was back in the fall, and how much less shocking it is now that the psychological barrier has been broken.

"I think it's quadrillion or sextillion or something."

"What is?"

"The next big number after a trillion."

"Hmm, I wonder why they invented numbers we'll never use."

To hear commentaries by Andrée Seu, click here.

Andrée Seu
Andrée Seu

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again.

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