44 – It’s A Palindrome

January 20, 2009

I had a birthday recently.  I am now 44 years old. Yippee.

What to say about 44?  For starters, it’s a palindrome (the same thing forwards and backwards).  And. Um.  And…and I think that’s it.  I suppose I could add something about how when you divide it by two, you get another palindrome (22).  And if you divide by two again, you get a THIRD palindrome (11).  Guess I’ll have to wait until I’m 88 before I see excitement like THAT again.

When it comes to getting older, most men have a very strong (make that impenetrable) filter that blocks out what is happening to our brains and bodies.  We never allow ourselves to see the whole, rapidly degenerating, picture.  Instead we see what we want to see, which generally has us nodding appreciatively and saying, “Hey, not too bad.  I still got it!” while our wives and significant others shake their heads sadly.

I’m no different.  For example, I tell people that I play full court basketball every week.  Truth is, I play on a two thirds court, but since it’s more than a half court, I round up.  And I only play with others in my age range (no 20-somethings to make us feel slow or ground bound).  These are just two of dozens of shielding mechanisms used by the Captain of the Filter.  His mission?  Keep out any and all data regarding graying hair, sagging muscles, and my sudden inability to remember ANYTHING that isn’t written down.  And then, one day – a day that starts no differently from the one before it – the filter becomes completely clogged with overwhelming data and the truth comes pouring in.  As you will see below, it is NOT an enjoyable day…

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“Was The Wheel Invented When You Were Born?”

December 15, 2008

phoneHave you ever tried to explain something to someone that you felt was pretty self evident but it just wasn’t getting across? Where you were positive you were explaining it clearly, but they clearly weren’t getting it?  No?  Try describing a rotary dial phone to two girls under the age of nine.

It started with a question that really threw me off balance:

“Daddy, was there television when you were little?”

I regarded them sourly.  They had to be kidding.  I mean I know I’m old enough to be their father (ok, I AM their father) but still.  Television?

“Yes, of course there was,” I answered not a little defensively.  But then I started thinking.  Was it really the same?  Their childhood experience of television is a flat screen on a wall, a billion channels in full color (some in hi definition) and you change the channel by pushing a button on the remote in your hand.  About as similar to our Admiral black and white set (biiiig box on a rolling table, seven channels, horrible reception that only improved when one of us stood next to it and held the antenna, needed to be unplugged to be turned off, and required a visit to the set to change the channel) as a cheetah is to a housecat…same species, sure, but hardly the same thing.

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43 Year Old Word Problem

November 25, 2008

Question:  If my 43 year old finger is traveling in one direction at high speed and collides with a 32 year old kneecap traveling in the other direction at the same speed, which one will get to the emergency room first?

The answer, of course, is my 43 year old finger.  Not even close.  Dislocated and looking like a reflection in a fun house mirror.

From the sausage-like swelling and pounding pain to the odd phase-shifting thing happening at the first knuckle where the bone dislocated and moved to a place it should never be, my finger looked like something out of a cartoon where faces routinely take on the shape of frying pans and smashed fingers the shape of the offending hammer (pictures available on request, though my friend Peter saw them and doesn’t recommend viewing near mealtimes).

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