Based on the calculations of Philadelphia's Provident National Bank's "literal-minded chief economist" regarding the cost of "12 Days of Christmas" (Nov. 24), I certainly would hesitate to trust that bank with my money.
His $15,231.72 total is unreal, considering that the cost tabulated by researchers at the University of Illinois was $587,878.78 about 10 years ago, as reported in The Times. By cutting corners, a cheaper version could be had then for $373,022.78.
What the chief economist forgot to consider in his computation is that 12 pear trees with a partridge are each to be given one per day. So are the 22 turtle doves, 30 French hens, 36 calling birds, 40 gold rings, etc. The only correct number he used was the 12 drummers, since they are to be given only once: on the 12th day.
He provided eight maids-a-milking (should be 40), but no cows. He estimated the cost of 10 leaping lords (should be 30) at $2,686.56. Forget it. What with first-class fares on British Airways, hotels and honorariums, his budget is totally inadequate. After all, where else can you get lords but England?