See what Andy Kaufman might have done with PowerPoint

Ben Greenman is a father of two, the author of more than a few books, and an editor at The New Yorker. So where did he find the time to come up with the overly literal, mockingly serious, fairly hilarious charts collected by the I Love Charts Tumblr?

We asked, and Greenman told us that a character in his next novel is a chart artist. Making these charts was a way for the writer to get into his character’s head. And judging by the results, it’s a very strange head to be in. One of the charts charts the “percent chance that each of these bars will reach the top of this graph.” Another—a straight diagonal line that fades into near-nothingness—charts the amount of ink left in Greenman’s pen. And a few of the charts actually impart some semi-useful information. (One compares the frequency of letters used in The Great Gatsby, Leaves of Grass, and Bartleby, the Scrivener, and proves that “The Great Gatsby has more g’s than f’s, which is uncommon, and may have something to do with West Egg and East Egg.”) There are a dozen charts in all, andtheir cumulative effect is oddly satisfying, in an Idiocracy-meets-The Office kind of way.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here. See what Andy Kaufman might have done with PowerPoint