The mother of a dear friend was the most superstitious person I ever knew. She carried a large number of crazy notions with her right up to her death from a bolt of lightning after inadvertently walking under a ladder to avoid a black cat that happened on her path.
One of her beliefs was that the mood you have on New Year’s Eve will be the dominant mood in the coming year. With that in mind, I have decided to write a little light humor (many will say, very light humor) on some late realizations of my still evolving brain.
My 8 year-old daughter started telling me the other day about the rules for adding negative numbers. That made me realize that I was probably in 5th or 6th grade before first encountering negative numbers, whose existence I, being an Aristotelian realist from an early age, resisted for a long time. I could get the “You have 3 applies and give away 2” part. But I had trouble with the concept of negative apples. (I did not then appreciate then how prominently negative numbers would figure in venture capital.)
I have been late to some other realizations, as the following table shows:
Popcorn comes from corn 8
Pickles are made from cucumbers 17
Plastic is made from petroleum 19
A 2×4 is really 1-1/2″ x 3-1/2 20
Raisins are made from grapes 21
GrapeNuts is made from sawdust 26
There are no minorities in the classic Frosty the Snowman movie 38
Big Bird is a boy (I think) 40
Surgical gloves and paint are made of the same stuff Recently
Hawaii is “5-0” because it’s the 50th state Not disclosed
Methane is produced by trees decomposing without oxygen Last Tuesday
The one realization in my entire life where I was ahead of the curve, whatever that means, has to do with Santa Claus.
READER CAUTION: Certain statements about Santa Claus that may potentially be offensive follow. You may wish to stop reading here. If you’ve read this far already, that’s your own damn fault.
Leading up to the Christmas just before my 5th birthday, I began to wonder about the supply chain complexity of one guy delivering presents to children worldwide in a single 12 hour shift. It occurred to my developing mind that if it took my mother over an hour to buy groceries for our happy family, there’s no way an old guy like St. Nick could get all that work done overnight, even adjusting for time zones. I hid behind the couch that Christmas Eve to test the hypothesis. (I was also early to the scientific method). When I saw my folks delivering presents from “Santa”, the gig was up. The short duration of the Santa belief is probably at the root of many of my current neuroses.
What the above realizations show above all else is the excessive amounts of time I seem to have to be writing this blog, and the poor use to which I have put that time.