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Friday, August 3, 2012

10 Things You Only Need To Know 1/10th Of

I am a serious man.

This is a self-assessment typical of my generation, which dates back to the 1480s when young princes, whose existences ran counter to established interests, were locked in the Tower of London. As we grew taller, stopped wearing blond hair and velvet and progressed politically in the 1950s, children were still legally required to give three-weeks' written notice before running or jumping. This was stern, but manageable.

The guide for childhood education used in the 1950s was compiled by King Henry VII of England, a standard reference book in schools until Dr. Benjamin Spock --a Vulcan-- found its pages blank. This was because the author's son, Henry VIII, destroyed all records of his father except for the word "oodle" on page 56 and some enthusiastic promotional blurbs from Richard III on the back cover. VII and III, as they familiarly called each other, fell out for some reason before they got out of their 20's, I think. It's an awkward age.

VIII and III are really Roman numerals. Here is a picture of Romans.

They are soldiers, centurions --even though they look much younger-- and they do roll call like this: Sound off! "Aye!", Aye aye!", "Aye aye aye", "Aye Vee!" and so on until "Cee" at which number you have a full compliment of centenarians.

I remember, age 30, and sympathize with Henry VII and Richard III, when friends seemed to involute socially and withdraw, cling to their own rocks like whelks. It was an unpleasant surprise. But even that failed to prepare me for what happened 30 years after that. When I retired I thought I had scads of work friends, which narrowed down immediately to mere oodles, then one. Basically, when out of sight, one is also out of mind, heart and invitation rosters.

I might as well have got locked in the Tower Of London.

Now I just fart around wondering things like, how many oodles make a scad. Most of my friends have been around most of my life, and I love them, but I sure miss the ones that wandered mindlessly away. I guess the trick is to overstock early, like maybe 50 or 100 scads, then you might get an oodle in your 60s.

Or you can get to know new kids. Cool them off. Let them call you Gramps and like you. The world doesn't have enough likeable old characters called Gramps, even though old movies are lousy with them.

[Norma photo]

But as for raising kids, just let their minds stay healthy and they'll raise themselves. Each of them is all 10 of the things we only need to know 1/10th of and they want to be happy. Take it from Gramps. I'm Gramps and I'm a serious man.


  1. I haven't had oodles of anything in a longer time than I care to remember. I also don't have grandkids (thank God) but I have been called "gramps" and other assorted names by a few confused and highly myopic children.

    You have succeeded in giving new dimensions to the subject of kings and their offspring, not to mention Roman numerals - both of which I know very little.

    Using no guidebooks whatsoever, my parents allowed me to chart my own erratic course - - the result of which is the unconventional enigma that I am today.

    I didn't intend for this to make any sense - - and I've succeeded.

  2. Sense is not a crucial ingredient of these essays, nor is this train a stranger to enigmas. Thanks Jon!

  3. Some kids are brought up and some kids fall up....a few appear to have been thrown up. Age and experience have taught me that regardless of how they got up there they tend to make their own decisions at a certain age that have nothing to do with the way they were raised or not. Some of us who were raised by that blank parental guide in the 50's are still recovering lol. The general outcome of parenthood appears to be confusion.

  4. It does seem interesting people tend to disappear after 60. Maybe they all have died from living too hard. Of course, there are always the old friends from high school who still tend to flock together, but the good ones? Where have all the flowers gone?

  5. That was some seriously good insight from a very serious person, with Vulcans and Romans thrown in for good measure--doesn't get much better than that.

    I found moving country (after a huge surprise leaving party) was a good way to lose about a hundred friends.

  6. Delores-- Parenting does result in much confusion if you're doing it right.

    Rubye Jack-- Good question. Was often asked where the flowers had gone when I was a gardener. I'd mutter something about lack of nitrogen and run off into the bushes.

    CarrieBoo-- Indeed, sadly many friends are lost from moving. It's almost like toys --I sometimes forget to bring friends and toys inside after playing and dogs get them.

  7. First you have a scad, then an oodle, then a tad, then a bit, then a sliver. Then you magnetize.

  8. Hahahaha!
    And Gramps is a very good thing to be. :D

  9. DB.--Is magnetizing like when I walk past the microwave which makes me wet my pants and forget who I am for a half hour?

    Austan--Thanks for encouragement. I shall now write another grampy thing.


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