Find me now, bitch!

I'm too old to have had any Waldo books growing up. (Wally, is his real name. Stodgy Americans call him Waldo, his British creator named him Wally, and in Europe, the books are 'Where's Wally?')

Anyway, I do know a lot of people who had them growing up, or have kids who have the books now. And, how sick and twisted are these parents? Waldo is hard to find! And you're making kids try to find him?

Actually, Waldo is only hard to find if you don't know math.

Ben Blatt, writer for Slate, came up with a mathematical method for humiliating his children by being able to find Waldo faster than they can.


It seems Waldos creator, Martian Handford, doesn't always place Waldo as randomly as he thinks he does.

What Blatt did was, he took a tape measure and note book to his local Barnes and Nobles, and sat there for three hours while he found Waldo in all the scenes in all seven of the original Waldo books. He then created a map of where they were located. And he made some startling discoveries.

Most Waldo drawings are 20" x 12.5" in size. And if you draw a stripe 1.5 inches wide, starting 3 inches from the bottom of the page, and a second 1.5 inch wide stripe starting 7 inches from the bottom, you will find Waldo there 53% of the time.


Some other observations that Blatt found are:

  • If Waldo were truly placed randomly, he would be within 1.5 inches of the top or bottom of the pages 25% of the time. Instead, he's there only 12% of the time.
  • Most Waldo drawings have a 'postcard' from Waldo in the upper left corner that takes up ~15 square inches. In the corresponding area on the opposite page, Waldo only appeared 4 times, which is slightly less than he would have been expected to appear there had he been placed randomly.
  • In the 2.5 inch band across the center of the page, in between the two Waldo rich bands, Waldo only appears 8 times, or 13% of the time.
  • Only twice was Waldo placed within 1.5 inches of a corner.
  • If you skip looking at the corners and the middle, you'll find Waldo faster 80% of the time.


Blatt tried to contact Handford for a comment on his article before he published it, but he refused to comment.

So is it a conspiracy? Has the Illuminati brainwashed Handford into placing Waldo in locations they can easily find? Is a grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich nearly a perfect food? Have I lost track of my questioning? Do these jeans make me look fat?

Thanks math. Now I can be a Waldo finding God! This is why you should stay in school, kids!


*Authors Note*

I didn't do the study, and I don't own any Waldo books to test the theory. But his methodology is sound, and he did use his co-workers as lab rats in testing his theory. I wish I could take credit for this, but I can't All credit goes to Ben Blatt and Slate. Find his original article here.