I once had a student describe being a biology major as, “learning the same thing every year, but in more and more detail.” You learn in bio 101 that A is absorbed by B. In the next class you learn the mechanics of how A is absorbed by B. And so on.

Astronomy is a field that relies on measurements as well. Galileo used a “spyglass” and discovered the moons of Jupiter. We have been observing the moons of Jupiter more closely ever since with better telescopes, radar and other methods of measurement that were unknown to Galileo, and finally spaceships.

This year is the fifth year that I have engaged in trying to find a book in the mess of my life. I have narrowed down the story, and I am extracting scenes from the tangle. I am polishing and refining. And I am observing things in ever more detail. My questions are better. Why did this happen and why did that happen?  I am questioning, examining, magnifying, studying mechanisms of self, family, and culture.

It might take radar or a fine observation of radio waves to get this done, but by god I will get this done.

How do you measure?


4 responses to “Measurements

  1. In penis lengths.
    If someone asks, “How long is that sideboard?” I’ll make a great show of measuring it, using my eyes and nodding my head about once for each foot of length.
    Then I’ll say, “Six penis lengths.”
    Drives people crazy.

    Or hours.
    “How long will it take us to get to the holiday cabin?”
    “About an hour.”
    “But it’s a hundred miles!”
    “I know. An hour to pack the car, an hour to shop for food on the way, an hour to visit your mum on the way, and an hour to drive there. So … (looking thoughtful and mathematicious) … about an hour.”
    Drives people crazy. Which, ultimately, brings us closer together in a way.

    After a childhood of obsessivian compulsarian exactidunal numberness, these behaviours are strangely therapeutic. Also worth it just for the looks on people’s faces when they understand I use the words “penis length” for a measurement of twelve inches. It’d work even better if you did it. Perhaps as part of a lecture?

  2. I think psychotherapy is the only way I’ll ever make sense of my life. (And maybe some crazymeds.)

    When the kids were little and didn’t really get the concepts of hours, we’d tell them our drive to St. Louis (to see the grandparents) would take 8 Duck Tales. Duck Tales was their favorite half hour TV show. We still sometimes make that reference with them just to see their nostalgic smiles.

    As for penis measurements, I was fishing in a boat with two other young men. One of them caught a big bass and lamented that we didn’t have a ruler to measure its length. He thought it could be 12 inches. The other guy said (of course) “I have something that can measure 12 inches!” And his friend quickly responded, “But we’d have to hold it up there 12 times.” I was chortling.

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