At first glance, it's a jaw-dropping shock -- and then, the longer you stare at it, trying to peer into its mysteries, it becomes even less real than that. Like poking smoke rings with a fork.
And, quite a lot like the wildly erroneous math used in recent years by the GOP to justify pet projects while pretending things really -- wink, nudge -- add up.
It appears some of that same logic is seeping into Europe: A woman in France received a telephone bill for almost 12 quadrillion euros -- about 9.25 quadrillion U.S. dollars.
Yes, of course, it's a goof -- one of the more spectacular ones, sure to join the ranks of other astonishing math blunders of its type, right up there with the more subtle, but equally eye-popping, misplaced-or-missing decimal point in the contract, or a spot where "or" should have been used versus "and," followed by billions in shaken foundations.
In this case, the dazzling math goof in phone billing was more than 6-thousand times France's annual economic output.
(Yep, sounds like the Romney-Ryan math team has been there, all right, advising company accountants and programmers.)
The BBC story quoted the woman, a former teaching assistant who had requested her phone company account be closed after losing her job last month, as saying she "almost had a heart attack. There were so many zeroes, I couldn't even work out how much it was."
(Again: Yes, that sure sounds like Republicans, all right: Espouse tightly conservative economic values and concerns about the national debt -- but only after putting two major wars, a bundle of skirmishes, and some massive bank bailouts on the nation's credit card!)