Inexplicably Normalized Justification of Unusual Recurring Incongruous Event Sounds

Andrew Butters, B.Sc.
Gordon Bonnet, B.Sc., M.A.


Injuries sustained over the first forty-eight years of the subject’s life are analyzed to determine the correlation between injury severity and the subject’s audible response. An empirical analysis is applied for the amplitude and frequency of the audible response as well as the active pain response duration leveraging novel units of measurement. Finally, a new universal law is presented. 


Using the idiom, “The bigger they are the harder they fall,” as a starting point, the aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between the severity of a painful or discomforting event and the subject’s audible response. A study, Swearing as a Response to Pain[i] [Stephens et. al., 2009], found that when an injury occurs, an audible expression of distress decreases the intensity of the pain experienced. Another study, Effect of Manipulated State Aggression on Pain Tolerance[ii] [Stephens & Allsop, 2012], found that athletes’ stamina and sense of discomfort decreases if they shout expletives during exertion, for which one of us (Bonnet) can offer anecdotal evidence in the form of his experience of screaming “Are you fucking kidding me right now?” during a race when he realized the last 300 meters of the course was steeply uphill.

Materials and Methods

Using the first-hand recollections captured in Near Death by a Thousand Cuts: A Humorous Memoir of Misfortune (Potato Chip Math Creations, April 2023), 75 data points and associated qualitative attributes were collected.

The study began in November 1973 in the parking lot of an apartment building in Toronto but unfortunately, due to the in utero[iii] [Cobain et. al., 1993] state of the subject at the time, relevant data was unavailable. The first captured data point was obtained in July 1975 when the subject reached the age of 18 months. Data collection continued for an additional 548 months until the subject reached the age of 47 years (give or take a few days).

We first agreed that the system for registering the severity of discomfort or pain being experienced would be the Butters Relative Pain Scale™ (BuRPS)[iv]:

1Onset of gastrointestinal discomfort after eating bad food
2Being punched in the arm by someone bigger than you
3Walking into a tree/door/light post while staring at your phone
4Pulling out a nose hair
5Cooking bacon naked
6Stubbing your pinkie toe on the foot of a bed
7Catching one or more fingers in a door
8Stepping on a Lego barefoot
9Getting your private parts caught in a zipper
10Kidney stones/childbirth

We also established that the sound level would utilize the standard Decibel scale[v]:

DecibelsType of sound
0absolute silence (threshold of hearing)
10soundproof room
20radio, television, or recording studio
30quiet lecture hall; bedroom
40quiet room in home
50restaurant; private office
60normal conversation; business office
70average street noise; loud telephone bell
80automobile interior
90bus or truck interior
100electric saw
110loud orchestral music, in audience
120amplified rock music; near jet engine
130artillery fire at close proximity (threshold of pain)

Given the unavailability of a sound meter at the time of each injurious event, we established a sound volume approximation method: Generally Undefined Examination of Sustained Sound (GUESS).

Similarly, due to the unavailability of recordings for each injurious event, we established an expletive frequency and duration approximation method: Another Generally Undefined Examination of Sustained Swearing (Another GUESS).

Finally, we calculated the resulting Injury Impulse by multiplying the expletive frequency (fucks, Fk) by the pain spike duration (seconds, s) and associated sound volume (decibels, dB).

Upon review of the data, we determined that some of the results were skewed either high or low. Further examination showed a correlation between the deviation and the age range at which the injury occurred. From this, we established a constant to compensate for incidents that either downplay the severity of the injury (in an attempt to “act tough” or impress peers) or overreact to it (in an attempt to garner more attention from those in the vicinity). 

The Deterministic Age Manipulation Number (DAMN) was set to 0.75 for injuries in the zero to 10-year age range (i.e., the event was likely not as severe as reported) and to 1.25 for the 11 to 20-year age range (i.e., the event was likely more severe than reported).


We applied the Injury Impulse transformation to each data point along with giving the appropriate Deterministic Age Manipulation Number (DAMN) to arrive at the corresponding Fuck-Second-Decibels (Fuckibels) value (Appendix A).

A simple plot (Appendix B, both with and without giving a DAMN) of the BuRPS and Fuckibels showed a straightforward non-linear relationship[vi] [Spivak, 2010] between the two described by the following expression:

Injury Impulse = 25(BuRPS2) + 75(BuRPS) + 50

One data point was thought to be an outlier (max BuRPS) but we determined this was a special case given the severity of the pain involved. For maximum BuRPS:

Injury Impulse = 3(BuRPS4)

Two data points alluded to exceptions to the aforementioned relationships. What if the subject, for whatever reason—whether it be unwillingness or an inability to—experienced a non-zero injury severity but displayed no outward expression of pain or discomfort? According to the formulae, this should result in an Injury Impulse of zero, however, by definition the experienced value is greater than zero. This creates a paradox akin to what is shown by the Black Knight in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  


From these results, we can conclude that for severity values greater than zero and less than the maximum there is a consistent and predictable polynomial relationship between the Butters Relative Pain Scale™ and the Injury Impulse in accordance with Butters’ses Law of General Fuckibelity:

For all injuries less than the maximum severity, the resulting Injury Impulse increases by twenty-five times the square of the severity plus seventy-five times the severity plus fifty.

From this, it is intuitively obvious that analogous to the idiom, “The bigger they are the harder they fall,” comes the Butters’ses Idiomatic Corollary, “The worse the injury the louder and more frequent the swearing.”

Butters’ses Law of Special Fuckibelity:

For maximum severity, the Injury Impulse is three times the severity to the fourth power and represents the upper pain threshold for a human.

There is a way to violate both forms of Butters’ses Law and that is to not react at all. Grin and bear it. Suck it up, buttercup. Pretend it never happened. This results in what is called The Black Knight Paradox, wherein irrespective of the severity of the wound, the response by the affected person is always:

’Tis but a scratch.[vii] [Knight, 1975]

Appendix A

#Section and ChapterBody PartActivityAge RangeDecadeBuRPSFk-sdBDAMNFk-dB-s
1Introduction3Full BodyGestating-4 mo to 5 y70sUndefinedn/an/an/aUndefined
2Introduction3HeadWalking-4 mo to 5 y70s4.512980.75882
3Introduction3Full BodyI Was a Dumbass-4 mo to 5 y70s310670.75502
4Introduction4Full BodyWalking-4 mo to 5 y80s13660.75148
5Introduction4ChestClimbing11 – 15 y80s715941.251762
6Introduction4HandI Was a Dumbass11 – 15 y80s5.510981.251225
7Introduction4Full BodyBiking11 – 15 y80s2.56531.25397
8Introduction4Full BodyWalking11 – 15 y80s24601.25300
9Introduction4Full BodySwimming16 – 20 y90s25481.25300
10Head & Shoulders5FaceI Was a Dumbass36 – 40 y10s410751750
11Head & Shoulders6FaceJumping-4 mo to 5 y70s725980.751837
12Head & Shoulders7HeadJumping11 – 15 y80s615751.251406
13Head & Shoulders7HeadRunning16 – 20 y90s6.517771.251636
14Head & Shoulders7HeadRunning16 – 20 y90s6.515861.251612
15Head & Shoulders7FaceMoshing21 – 25 y90s410751750
16Head & Shoulders7FaceMoshing21 – 25 y90s410751750
17Head & Shoulders8HeadHockey16 – 20 y90s6.515841.251575
18Head & Shoulders8HeadHockey16 – 20 y90s6.514941.251645
19Head & Shoulders8HeadHockey16 – 20 y90s715961.251800
20Head & Shoulders9HeadSnowboarding31 – 35 y00s6.5179511615
21Head & Shoulders9HeadTubing36 – 40 y10s7209211840
22Head & Shoulders10FaceShovelling31 – 35 y00s48951760
23Head & Shoulders10FaceSkiing16 – 20 y90s820911.252275
24Head & Shoulders10FaceRunning11 – 15 y80s612951.251425
25Head & Shoulders10FaceHockey11 – 15 y80s3.56841.25630
26Head & Shoulders10FaceI Was a Dumbass16 – 20 y90s47851.25743
27Head & Shoulders10FaceSnowboarding26 – 30 y00s8239812254
28Head & Shoulders11FaceI Was a Dumbass16 – 20 y90s715951.251781
29Knees & Toes12FeetI Was a Dumbass36 – 40 y10s5119411034
30Knees & Toes12LegI Was a Dumbass11 – 15 y80s3.56831.25622
31Knees & Toes13AnkleRunning31 – 35 y00s5.5158211230
32Knees & Toes13AnkleHockey16 – 20 y90s5.512811.251215
33Knees & Toes14LegHockey16 – 20 y90s715951.251781
34Knees & Toes14LegHockey11 – 15 y80s4.58911.25910
35Knees & Toes15ToeStanding or Sitting16 – 20 y90s930801.253000
36Knees & Toes16AnkleJumping6 – 10 y80s7.530920.752070
37Upper Limbs & Phalanges17ArmHockey11 – 15 y80s59911.251023
38Upper Limbs & Phalanges17ElbowHockey16 – 20 y90s48751.25750
39Upper Limbs & Phalanges17Finger or ThumbHockey16 – 20 y90s3.56821.25615
40Upper Limbs & Phalanges18Finger or ThumbRandom Accident6 – 10 y80s726910.751774
41Upper Limbs & Phalanges18Finger or ThumbUsing a Tool16 – 20 y90s46.5921.25747
42Upper Limbs & Phalanges18Finger or ThumbUsing a Tool46 – 47 y20s5.5139511235
43Upper Limbs & Phalanges18Finger or ThumbRandom Accident46 – 47 y20s7.52010012000
44Upper Limbs & Phalanges19Finger or ThumbUsing a Tool36 – 40 y10s8307712310
45Upper Limbs & Phalanges20Finger or ThumbRandom Accident16 – 20 y90s7.517981.252082
46Upper Limbs & Phalanges20Finger or ThumbMedical Procedure16 – 20 y90s35801.25500
47Upper Limbs & Phalanges20Finger or ThumbUsing a Tool16 – 20 y90s510851.251062
48Upper Limbs & Phalanges21WristRandom Accident6 – 10 y80s620940.751410
49Upper Limbs & Phalanges22ArmBiking6 – 10 y80s6.525850.751593
50Upper Limbs & Phalanges22ArmMedical Procedure6 – 10 y80s8251250.752343
51Upper Limbs & Phalanges23HandI Was a Dumbass26 – 30 y00s5128711044
52Upper Limbs & Phalanges23HandI Was a Dumbass26 – 30 y00s8.5259812450
53Torso & Near the Equator24ChestHockey11 – 15 y80s715951.251781
54Torso & Near the Equator24ChestSquash36 – 40 y10s7209011800
55Torso & Near the Equator24ChestSnowboarding31 – 35 y00s7209011800
56Torso & Near the Equator25BackHockey16 – 20 y90s820901.252250
57Torso & Near the Equator25BackWalking36 – 40 y10s8258812200
58Torso & Near the Equator25BackStanding or Sitting16 – 20 y90s818981.252205
59Torso & Near the Equator25BackCleaning26 – 30 y00s8258912225
60Torso & Near the Equator25BackLifting Weights26 – 30 y00s8278212214
61Torso & Near the Equator25AssLifting Weights26 – 30 y00sUndefinedn/an/an/aUndefined
62Torso & Near the Equator26KidneyPoor Diet41 – 45 y10s10240129130960
63Torso & Near the Equator26JunkMedical Procedure41 – 45 y10s5157111065
64Torso & Near the Equator26JunkMedical Procedure41 – 45 y10s6159611440
65Torso & Near the Equator27JunkHockey26 – 30 y00s48961768
66Torso & Near the Equator27JunkHockey16 – 20 y90s510831.251037
67Torso & Near the Equator28JunkMedical Procedure31 – 35 y00s5128711044
68Torso & Near the Equator28JunkMedical Procedure31 – 35 y00s8259212300
69Torso & Near the Equator28JunkLifting31 – 35 y00s8239712231
70Torso & Near the Equator28BackShoveling36 – 40 y10s7209211840
71Torso & Near the Equator29AssMedical Procedure21 – 25 y90s6159411410
72Torso & Near the Equator29AssMedical Procedure21 – 25 y90s6159311395
73Torso & Near the Equator30AssMedical Procedure21 – 25 y90s6.5179611632
74Torso & Near the Equator30AssMedical Procedure21 – 25 y90s6159211380
75Epilogue31AssMedical Procedure21 – 25 y90s6.5169911584

Appendix B


Funding for the study provided by the Andrew Butters Childhood Development and Education Fund (ABCDEF) ca. 1974-1993 from Mr. and Mrs. Butters Foundation.

Sources Cited

[i] Stephens R, Atkins J, Kingston A. Swearing as a response to pain. Neuroreport. 2009 Aug 5;20(12):1056-60. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32832e64b1. PMID: 19590391.

[ii] Stephens, Richard & Allsop, Claire. (2012). Effect of Manipulated State Aggression on Pain Tolerance. Psychological reports. 111. 311-21. 10.2466/16.02.20.PR0.111.4.311-321.

[iii] Cobain K, Novoselic C, Grohl D, Albini S (producer). In Utero. DGC Records. 1993 Sept 21.

[iv] Author and copyright holder Near Death by a Thousand Cuts: A Humorous Memoir of Misfortune by Andrew Butters (Potato Chip Math Creations, Dieppe, New Brunswick, 2023; ISBN: 978-1-7781322-4-7)

[v] https://www.britannica.com/science/sound-physics/The-decibel-scale

[vi] Spivak, Michael Physics for mathematicians—mechanics I. Publish or Perish, Inc., Houston, TX, 2010. xvi+733 pp. ISBN: 978-0-914098-32-4

[vii] The Black Knight, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Python (Monty) Pictures, 1975)