356 + 247 = 603 (22 seconds)
9162 – 4739 = 4423 (19 seconds)
5193 / 17 = 305 with a remainder of 8 (78 seconds)
537 X 692 = 371604 (78 seconds)
I timed myself doing the above problems by hand…something I haven’t attempted since 1975, the first year I owned a calculator. I was quite proud of the fact that I remembered how to do long division, who cares that it took 1 minute and 18 seconds?
The term Eurasia didn’t exist back then.
Sentence diagramming: Oh forget that! I would have to consult a book. Then in the later years Spanish Que hora es? Mis zapatos son de color marrón. And algebra, do the odd problems 1 through 153.
Problem 1 a + a =
Problem 3 2a + 7a =
Problem 5 4x + 3x + 17x =…..
Problem 13 sin (x) (3a +5b)z+ Σ0N (log(atan(θ)) / (bN +dN) N-1 =
Problems 1 through 5, I could understand. Then I would get lost somewhere between 7 through 11. Beyond problem 11 the mathematics looked like problems from a parallel albeit extremely advanced universe.
So yes as a child, June was my favorite month. But then I became an adult (well I got big anyhow) and left the jail of education for the long sentence of prison of an occupation. There were no longer paroles every summer. June lost its glitter. My favorite month moved to May for a while in my younger adulthood before I had MS. With the onslaught of MS came an intolerance for heat. Hot days make me feel like I have a hangover. So my favorite month moved to April. The temperatures are more moderate, there is a lot of rain which I love, and the leaves start to bud and break out. I love when the trees look like they have been spray painted with a pastel green. So April is now my favorite month.
They say that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Well this year March came in like a lion and went out like an angry lion. While I was down Georgia, south western Pennsylvania had a tornado and tennis ball sized hail on March 23. Ever since, it seems that we have not had a spring but rather a clash of winter and summer. Too cold one day…then too hot…then a nasty storm and too cold again. It has been in the mid 60s when I left for work and snowing when I come home. Back and forth, Old Man Winter and Hot Ass Summer duking it out while spring lies bleeding on the side of the ring--a casualty of the conflict.
So April, my favorite month seems to be slipping through my fingers and so far I have seen little sign of spring. This April also marks the end of my occupational prison term. I am going to be released April 29th and what is left of my working life is hemorrhaging away, and to be honest, it is frightening. I have never been one to dream about retirement and all the wonderful things I can do. Retirement was always something that I brushed off. I will look at it in a couple of years. And a couple of years always kept rolling on ahead for another couple of years and I just put it off as an unpleasantry (Did I just invent that word? It has a red squiggly underline.) to be faced at some indeterminate fuzzy date off into the foggy beyond. Let’s not trouble ourselves with that now. Then six months ago I got pissed off with work and decided it was time to go. This is not the way to do retirement planning!
I still want to leave work, I am tired of their bullshit, a crisis every moment of the day. But on the other hand, I don’t think that I want to be retired either. Good God, where did all the time go? Well there is the crux of the situation, it is not retirement I fear…it is old age.
I have never been one to keep a neat cubical, but I would on occasion “rid up” as we say in Pittsburgh. About 10 years ago the company started some horseshit program called 5 S which is adapted from Japanese manufacturing techniques. The company hired consultants and went to great lengths to explain each one of the damned S’s to us and how this was going to make our lives so much better. I made it a point to not know what the frigging S’s meant. I don’t give a shit how well it works in Japan, we don’t make Civics or Camrys. We make a lot of onesie and twosie very large specialized contraptions that require a lot of tooling. So yeah, you got a lot of expensive tooling laying about that you may not need for 2 or 3 years. It looks messy. It is not an assembly line operation. Oh we have to 5 S (it has become a verb) our facilities and areas. Things that you will need next year get thrown out with a religious fervor by wild eyed 5 S apparatchiks. "If you would only take ownership of the process, you would quickly realize the improvement in efficiency." Unlimited profits will be ours if only we get this place 5 S'ed.
Well about 5 years ago, my boss got a new boss who stated that not only was 5 S a good thing for the factory floor, it was how he expected to see an engineer’s cubical. Neatness is efficiency. Well that was it, I never cleaned my cube after that. The paper piled up and up to where it got to be something of a joke. To tell you the truth, even I found it a bit taxing. Alas, nobody ever reprimanded me for it. Shit!
Well, I feel a moral obligation to clean out my cube before I leave. So I am working my way down through the alluvial layers of paper work as though it were a strip mine. Some of it causes me to grit my teeth, but then I’ll run into the drawings and design work for some neat project and it then tugs at my heart. I am going to miss some of this. I start to question, am I really ready to hang it all up? Well wouldn’t it be nice if we could pick and choose what we want to do? Most of what I do is dreary, and as I get older I find it more difficult to embrace the sense of urgency under which the company feels that it must operate. My guess is that the sun will still rise tomorrow morning whether I get this particular crisis of the moment solved or not. So yeah, it is time to go, but it is not without some heartache that I am leaving.
I feel like I am standing on precipice desperately looking though an April that refuses to come and yet is flying by, staring into oblivion. Retirement? The price of gasoline has gone up what, almost a dollar a gallon, since I made the decision to retire. What I see coming is ever increasing costs and physical decline on a fixed income that will result in an ever increasing sense of poverty while my wife and I race our finances to the grave. Yet I read VW Busman telling us of cheerfully pulling on his waders to go water his plants in his flooded greenhouse, giving thanks for waking up in the morning, drinking a glass of good homemade wine, and laughing at his predicament. I think to myself, Sextant you old bastard, it is time to grow up.
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